Rebuildable battery could revolutionise EVs
Patented by electric vehicle technology developer NTS Works in Santa Cruz, the Lifetime Rebuildable Battery features individually removable industry standard cylindrical lithium-ion cells, supplied by Samsung Electronics, and is designed to improve the affordability and sustainability of electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle battery packs contain a bank of anywhere between tens and hundreds of lithium-ion cells, but these only account for between a quarter and a half of the total cost. The rest comes from crash protection, vibration isolation, thermal cooling and the attached electronics.
If the cells can be removed individually, owners can upgrade to a higher energy density or replace faulty cells without adding the cost of the battery pack itself. In turn, this would reduce the wariness in the used market by cutting the cost of renewing the car's most expensive part.
The NTS Works system monitors cells individually using a system built into the walls of the pack itself, so there are no loose wires, while a copper heat conductor keeps them cool and the structure is designed to withstand crash testing. Removed cells can be reused for lower power applications, such as energy storage for solar farms, for many years after they become unsuitable for use in an electric vehicle.
Neal Saiki, founder of NTS Works, said: ‘In my experience with electric vehicles, the battery never lasts as long as the rest of the vehicle. People want to drive EVs without having to be careful about accelerating or hill climbing –and that kind of driving kills the lifespan of the battery.’
The technology is being demonstrated in an electric bicycle, but external companies have shown an interest in fitting it to devices ranging from power supplies to electric buses.