Dec 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Battery with more nickel could be an electric vehicle breakthrough

A woman presses buttons in a lab.

Battery researcher Jie Xiao. Photo: Andrea Starr/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

A new battery material design relying on more nickel could lead to electric vehicle power systems that are cheaper and offer greater range.

Why it matters: Today's batteries are often bulky and expensive, provide limited range and rely on rare materials that are often sourced from conflict-torn regions.


  • The new design, developed by researchers at the Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, improves on current lithium-ion batteries through the use of a single crystal, nickel-rich cathode.
  • The researchers estimate that the single-crystal, nickel-rich cathode packs at least 25% more energy than the lithium-ion batteries used in today’s electric vehicles.
  • The findings were published on Friday in the journal Science.

What's next: Battery researcher Jie Xiao said it’ll likely take around five years for the tech to come to market.

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