Enevate's silicon-anode batteries promise ultra-fast EV charging
Comment of the Day

March 27 2020

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Enevate's silicon-anode batteries promise ultra-fast EV charging

This article by Loz Blain for New Atlas may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

With some US$111 million in investment from major companies, including LG, Samsung, Mitsubishi, Renault and Nissan, Enevate now says its cells are ready for the big time. In an interview with Charged EVs, Park said Enevate is designing packs for the 2024 and 2025 model years to get its cells into consumer products with major manufacturers. There are no announcements around who or what exactly they're making packs for, but the list of companies above may be instructive.

As far as we're aware, though, the infrastructure to support blast-charging at the kinds of rates we're talking about here simply doesn't yet exist. Tesla's V3 superchargers are currently capable of blast-charging a Model 3 at 250 kilowatts, which would give you around 133 km (83 mi) of range in five minutes.

These batteries would charge three times faster, at around 0.75 megawatts, which is a huge power draw. An alternative method might involve trickle-charging massive supercapacitors all day at slower rates so they've got enough energy to supply the cars super-quickly when they need it, but we're yet to see anything like that in action, and the size of those supercapacitors might end up being prohibitive.

Eoin Treacy's view

It is almost as if I see a new story about advancements in battery technology every day. They all come with caveats but the one thing we can be sure of is the quantity of capital now devoted to solving the issue of energy density and range anxiety is growing persistently. Producing a doubling of energy density with a low charging time is the hold grail of the sector today and it is reasonable there will be a solution in the market within five years.

The price war currently underway between Saudi Arabia and Russia in the oil market needs to be viewed from a long-term perspective. Supply tends to be volatile but demand is most often viewed as a constant. That is no longer true of the oil market.

Demand growth is 100% predicated on continued growth in the emerging markets as more people move into the middle classes. In the developed world, as services grow in economic importance the relative weighting of energy in the economic mix declines. Additionally, the number of miles driven in the USA has been trending lower for a while.

China and India’s demand for vehicles are likely to be constrained by population density and lack of space. That suggests while India has room to grow China may already be at past its peak car ownership growth rate.

All that contributes to the conclusion the proverbial demand pie is no longer growing on a secular trajectory but new sources of supply have popped up over the last decade which turned the USA from being the biggest consumer into an exporter. That is one of the primary reasons for increasing stress in the oil sector.

From a big picture perspective, the evolution of batteries and renewables is only going to exacerbate the pressure on oil producers. The first to suffer will be higher cost producers long-term it represents a significant reweighting of the global status quo.

Originally, the economic basis was agriculture and what the land could produce. That meant land and the hands required to work it was where wealth was generated and gold was a limited supply asset that matched well with the relatively limited variation in agricultural production.

The Industrial Revolution began to change that metric because production and wealth were tied more to technology and a growing market. The energy return from steam, electricity and oil matched well with the ramping up of production from industry.

The Information Revolution is changing these metrics again and we are still in the foothills of this evolution. How do we formulate a monetary system to deal with exponential growth in data that appears to have little relation to the physical world we live in?

The limitation of explosions in data creation is only in the number of people connecting and how they produce useful innovation and how an individual, team of society’s data is created, collated, optimised, parsed, mined and proliferated.

That suggests the richest economies in future will be a multiple of the largest populations X greatest education systems X freedom of expression X access to liquidity X work ethic.
The losers are already those countries which have historically relied on the good fortune of hosting energy assets to promote growth while ignoring just about all of the above factors.

Into that mix it is inevitable a new monetary basis for economic activity will emerge. The Bank of England has already released papers of digital currency. China is trying to figure out how to make a crypto-backed national currency function. If information is power then as the economy becomes more data centric, it is inevitable we are going to see more data solutions to the monetary question.

I am very aware that the above comparisons are loose to put it mildly but while I will need time to flesh out the details, I do believe this is the basis for what we can expect to evolve over the next decade as we push the limits of how the debt markets are currently structures. Oil sits on top of gold and agriculture in the economic hierarchy and it is quite likely data will soon sit on top of oil. That is certainly where the trend points.


Back to top

You need to be logged in to comment.

New members registration