Thermally modulated lithium iron phosphate batteries for mass-market electric vehicles

Abstract

The pursuit of energy density has driven electric vehicle (EV) batteries from using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathodes in early days to ternary layered oxides increasingly rich in nickel; however, it is impossible to forgo the LFP battery due to its unsurpassed safety, as well as its low cost and cobalt-free nature. Here we demonstrate a thermally modulated LFP battery to offer an adequate cruise range per charge that is extendable by 10 min recharge in all climates, essentially guaranteeing EVs that are free of range anxiety. Such a thermally modulated LFP battery designed to operate at a working temperature around 60 °C in any ambient condition promises to be a well-rounded powertrain for mass-market EVs. Furthermore, we reveal that the limited working time at the high temperature presents an opportunity to use graphite of low surface areas, thereby prospectively prolonging the EV lifespan to greater than two million miles.

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Fig. 1: Cell-to-pack technology.
Fig. 2: Specific energy and energy density at cell and pack levels.
Fig. 3: Cruise range under city and highway driving in different temperatures.
Fig. 4: Fast-charging capability at different temperatures.
Fig. 5: All-climate cruise range, remarkable power and 10 min fast charging with a TM-LFP blade battery.
Fig. 6: TM LFP blade battery fulfils all main criteria required for mass-market EVs.

Data availability

All relevant data are included in the paper and its Supplementary Information. Source data are provided with this paper.

Code availability

The case files for the cell performance and degradation simulations on Autolion-1D v7.0 are publicly available at https://github.com/ECECPSU/TMLFP

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Acknowledgements

Financial support from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under award no. DE-EE0008355 and the William E. Diefenderfer Endowment is gratefully acknowledged. We are also grateful to Gamma Technologies for providing licences to GT-Autolion software, with which we performed the ECT modelling.

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X.G.Y and C.Y.W. conceived the idea and wrote the manuscript. X.G.Y. designed and performed the modelling studies. All authors contributed to analyses of the results.

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Correspondence to Chao-Yang Wang.

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Peer review information Nature Energy thanks Partha Mukherjee, Kandler Smith and Karim Zaghib for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Tables 1 and 2, Figs. 1–14 and Note 1.

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Yang, XG., Liu, T. & Wang, CY. Thermally modulated lithium iron phosphate batteries for mass-market electric vehicles. Nat Energy 6, 176–185 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-020-00757-7

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