2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Will Have the Most Powerful Li-Ion Cell Available

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SK Innovation managed to escape from a U.S. ban to pull off something extraordinary. One of the cars it plans to power, the Ford F-150 Lightning, will receive the most powerful lithium-ion battery to date. Called NCM9, it has a proportion of nickel that reaches approximately 90% of its composition. That would make it the most energy-dense cell currently available.

The Korean company revealed that at InterBattery 202, the largest battery industry exhibition in its home country. Sadly, SK Innovation did not disclose how energy-dense its nickel-rich cell is. We’ll try to learn that from the company itself.

Regardless of how much it is, that makes Ford be ahead of Tesla when it comes to battery tech. Tesla said its 4680 cells would also be rich in nickel. Elon Musk even asked mining companies to increase their nickel production because his company would need a lot of the metal for its new batteries.

The irony is that the company seemed much closer to delivering these supercells than anyone in the market after Tesla Battery Day. At the Q1 2021 earnings call on April 26, 2021, Musk said that he thought the 4680 were “not quite yet at the point where we think the cells are reliable enough to be shipped in cars.”

He predicted that would happen “12 – probably not more than 18 months away” than that point, which implies they will only be available by May 2022 in the best-case scenario. The F-150 Lightning has been promised to spring 2022, which means Ford may start to sell its electric pickup truck earlier than Tesla will sell the Cybertruck. SK Innovation will produce the NCM9 cells in its battery plant in Georgia, U.S.

Apart from the NCM9, SK Innovation also presented the NCM8, the cell that the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6 use. The company also said it is working to create batteries that are safer, faster to charge, and live longer than the current ones.

To make charging faster, SK Innovation will double the number of cathodes and anodes per cell. That will make electrons travel shorter distances. They will also have more resistant electrodes, which will make them last longer.

Finally, SK Innovation bragged about how its batteries have never seen a fire case after more than 270 million deliveries to date. It was a subtle and polite way to tease LG Energy Solution, which has been involved with two significant recalls: for the Hyundai Kona Electric and the Chevrolet Bolt EV.

According to SK Innovation, its separators are of exceptionally high quality, which prevents short circuits. They also prevent heat from propagating, which saves nearby cells if one of them has any issues. Finally, SK Innovation has the “Z folding” strategy, which wraps the anode and the cathode in zigzags. That reduces the risk of contact between them, which is what causes short circuits and fires.

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Nightryder

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May 30, 2021
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The wording in this story is weird. Are we sure this is bigger than the Extended Range battery, or are they talking about the 300 mile pack available on the 2922 model?
 
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