Nikola to unveil game-changing battery cell technology

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 20, 2019

Nikola Corporation has announced details of its new battery that has a record energy density of 1100 watt-hours per kg on the material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on the production cell level. The Nikola prototype cell is the first battery that removes binder material and current collectors, enabling more energy storage within the cell. It is also expected to pass nail penetration standards, thus reducing potential vehicle fires.

Nikola plans to show the batteries charging and discharging at a Nikola World event in the northern fall of 2020.

This battery technology could increase the range of current EV passenger cars from 300 miles (482km) up to 600 miles (965km) with little or no increase to battery size and weight. The technology is also designed to operate in existing vehicle conditions. Moreover, cycling the cells over 2000 times has shown acceptable end-of-life performance. The new cell technology is environmentally friendly and easy to recycle too.

This month, Nikola entered into a letter of intent to acquire a world-class battery engineering team to help bring the new battery to pre-production.

“This is the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world,” said Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Motor Company.  “We are not talking about small improvements; we are talking about doubling your cell phone battery capacity. We are talking about doubling the range of BEVs and hydrogen-electric vehicles around the world.”

Milton said Nikola was in discussions with customers for truck orders that could fill production slots for more than 10 years and propel Nikola to become the top truck manufacturer in the world in terms of revenue.

“Now the question is, why not share it with the world?” said Milton.

Features include:

  • Nikola‘s battery electric trucks could now drive 800 miles (1287km) fully loaded between charges

  • Nikola trucks could weigh 5000 lbs (2268kg) less than the competition if same battery size was kept

  • Nikola‘s hydrogen-electric fuel cell trucks could surpass 1000 miles (1609km) between stops and top off in 15 minutes

  • World‘s first free-standing electrode automotive battery

  • Energy density up to 1100 watt-hours per kg on a material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on a production cell level including casing, terminals and separator – more than double current lithium-ion battery cells

  • Cycled over 2000 times with acceptable end-of-life performance

  • 40% reduction in weight compared with lithium-ion cells

  • 50% material cost reduction per kWh compared with lithium-ion batteries.

Due to the impact this technology will have on society and emissions, Nikola has taken an unprecedented position to share the intellectual property (IP) with other OEMs, even competitors, that contribute to the Nikola IP licence and new consortium.