With concerns over lithium-ion battery flammability and toxicity, adoption of electric and electrified vehicles has been slower than it could have been.
Case in point: Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Fisker Karma*. In response to this, manufacturers have been researching how to make their lithium-ion batteries safer. Electrovaya in Canada had to cut back on production to make improvements to their own technology.
This may have been a concern for stockholders, but ramping up to normal production levels, will come as good news. The original design battery, called SuperPolymer, was tested on prototype plug-in hybrid electric Dodge Ram pickup trucks back in 2010. Still, the SuperPolymer battery came with concerns over fire and toxicity.
Electrovaya’s next-generation lithium-ion battery, SuperPolymer 2.0, is designed with a number of improvements over the previous battery [Version 1.0?]. By avoiding the use of the toxic chemical NMP [N-Methyl Pyrrolidone], typically used in lithium-ion battery production, the company saves about 50% in manufacturing costs.
The non-toxic chemical also reduces risk of dangerous pollution and makes recycling simpler. The company also redesigned the battery pack to work at a wider temperature range and to better manage its own temperature. These changes reduced the size of the battery pack as well as increased resistance to fire, flammability, and internal propagation in case of individual cell failure.
*The Fisker Karma fires were eventually determined to have originated in the vehicle control unit, which is powered by a 12V system, only related to the high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack by a voltage converter. Still, lithium-ion battery fires are associated with electrified vehicles in the minds of many people.