StoreDot, an Israeli developer of extreme fast-charging (XFC) battery technology for electric vehicles, unveiled this month what it called the “world’s first” silicon-dominant battery prototype capable of recharging in just 10 minutes.
The company’s cylindrical cells use a 4680 format — 46 millimeters wide by 80 millimeters long — that is favored by global carmakers, specifically electric vehicle giant Tesla.
The battery tech has been in development for three years and includes five patents in cell design, StoreDot said in a statement last week. The design “increases throughput and addresses safety and performance issues typically associated with the hard case structure of cylindrical cells,” the company said.
StoreDot said it was now working on setting up a production line with Eve Energy, the company’s manufacturing partner in China.
“Achieving the goal of extreme fast charging a cylindrical cell in only 10 minutes has been on StoreDot’s technology roadmap from day one,” said StoreDot CEO Dr. Doron Myersdorf. “It’s highly significant that we can offer Electric Vehicle manufacturers the choice of cell formats, utilizing our XFC technology that will overcome the current barriers to EV [electric vehicle] ownership: range and charging anxiety.” This refers to the fear of a battery running out mid-journey and the driver getting stranded at a charging station.
Myersdorf revealed that the company was now in “advanced discussions” with a number of global automotive manufacturers with plans “to supply them with various XFC cells, enabling a rapid transition to a zero-emissions electrified future.”
The 4680 format battery will be ready for production at scale in 2024, the company said, as will its first-generation fast-charging pouch cell, also aimed at the EV market. StoreDot is also working on extreme energy density (XED) solid-state technologies, that will allow for longer battery operability and will enter mass production in 2028.
Founded in 2012, Herzliya-based StoreDot has been developing lithium ion-based battery technologies, using nanomaterials and organic and inorganic compounds, that enable ultra-fast charging for the mobile and industrial markets. The process redefines the chemistry of conventional lithium-ion batteries, taking electric vehicle charging times from hours to minutes, the company says.
This breakthrough is achieved primarily by replacing graphite in the cell’s anode with metalloid nanoparticles, such as silicon, to overcome major issues in safety, cycle life and cell swelling during the charging process.
StoreDot’s strategic investors include BP Ventures, the venture arm of the British multinational oil and gas firm BP plc, Daimler AG, the maker of the Mercedes Benz cars, Japanese electronic multinational TDK, and Samsung Ventures. The company has raised $130 million to date.
In 2019, StoreDot used a small form factor of its XFC technology to demonstrate the world’s first full live charge of a two-wheeled electric vehicle in five minutes. A year later, it demonstrated the scalability of its XFC batteries for other devices by fully charging a commercial drone, also in five minutes. Another milestone followed in January 2021 when StoreDot launched engineering samples of batteries.
The company has also previously demonstrated ultra-fast charging times for phones and scooters.
Late last month, StoreDot filed a patent for technology that creates a “booster” feature that allows the battery to analyze the capability of the charging station in real-time and adjust the battery’s ability to carry high current rates. These systems are meant to significantly improve the rate of miles per minute of charging, the company said.
It also said it would make the technology available to other organizations “to help expand current charging infrastructure, speed up the global adoption of electric vehicles and create a zero-emissions world in the future.”
“We want to work with and support the global community, including automotive manufacturers and infrastructure providers in their missions as well, especially when the industry is facing a number of charging infrastructure deployment challenges, not least the global semiconductor shortage,” Myersdorf said in August.
A few months earlier, in May, StoreDot received approval from NASA to conduct what the startup says is the first space-based research and development program into new battery materials.
The experiment will be among a selected number of Israeli research projects to be performed on the International Space Station, as part of Israel’s Rakia program. Jointly backed by the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ramon Foundation, the Rakia (sky in Hebrew) program is part of Axiom Space Ax-1, the world’s first private mission to the ISS.
As part of the Rakia program, Eytan Stibbe will travel to the ISS on the SpaceX Dragon capsule next year, becoming the second Israeli astronaut in space. On board, he will undertake 200 hours of scientific projects and educational outreach, including a series of live lessons for Israeli schoolchildren.
In May, the Ramon Foundation and the Ministry of Science announced the 44 selected projects for the program, many of which still need NASA approval. The projects hail from a wide spectrum of scientific and technological disciplines – radiation, genomics, immunology, neural functioning, quantum communication, astrophysics, agri-tech, communications, optics, ophthalmology, medical devices, and disease research.
On board the ISS, StoreDot’s XFC technology will undergo two weeks of rigorous testing in zero gravity conditions.
“We have kind of exhausted avenues for new materials research on Earth,” said Myersdorf told The Times of Israel at the time. “We are trying to see if we can accelerate a breakthrough in new materials in zero gravity conditions.”
Part of the challenge of creating innovative batteries is to know what is happening inside the chargers. To be able to isolate and identify chemical processes, battery cells need to undergo testing in extreme conditions: high and low heat, low oxygen levels, and other extreme scenarios to be able to “sift through various scenarios of battery degradation,” he said.
Experimenting on fast charging in space has not been done before, he said, and the process could help isolate defects and degradation mechanisms that don’t occur on Earth.
Myersdorf said he doesn’t expect any major breakthroughs from this first experiment in space, but developing a methodology of testing out materials on Earth and in space and comparing the results is “pioneering” and will have implications for industries far beyond batteries, he said.
“As this is something that has never done before it’s difficult to know exactly what we will discover, but the methodology of analyzing reactions in space has huge potential and will enable us discover things that simply would not be possible on Earth,” said Myersdorf.
Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this report.