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LG Chem: 200-Mile Batteries on Their Way for 2016

In the battle for electric car range supremacy, only Tesla’s all-electric Model S sedan can currently manage more than 200 miles on a single charge, thanks in part to its massive 60 or 85 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

LG Chem currently provides battery packs to Chevrolet for its Volt electric car

LG Chem currently provides battery packs to Chevrolet for use in its electric cars

Come 2016 however, says South Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem, it will be suppling 200-mile battery packs to one of its electric car customers. Who that customer is remains a mystery.

Talking with Reuters on Friday, LG Chem’s Chief Financial Officer Cho Suk-jeh promised the battery manufacturer’s second generation lithium-ion battery pack would deliver a massive improvement of range on its current first-generation battery packs. 

An improvement which could make travelling 200 miles or more on a single charge something that every new electric car was capable of, not just expensive luxury cars like the Tesla Model S.

The breakthrough in technology between the first and second generation of LG Chem’s battery cells lies in the energy density of the cells. The energy density of lithium-ion battery packs — how much energy you can store per unit mass — has improved dramatically over the past five years.  The more energy stored per unit mass, the larger a battery pack’s capacity is for a given size. The larger the capacity, the longer the range.

GM's future electric vehicle plans include a 200-mile electric car.

GM’s future electric vehicle plans include a 200-mile electric car.

Currently, LG Chem provides battery cells to General Motors for its Volt range-extended electric car, and to Renault for its Zoe supermini and Twizy city quadricycle. While LG Chem does provide battery packs to other clients too — including Hyundai for use in its hybrid cars and to Ford for its plug-in cars — we’d guess that both GM and Renault will be at the top of the list of buyers for the new technology.

Since neither Suk-jeh nor LG Chem has officially named who will get the new battery, we can’t say for sure who the first 200-mile battery packs will go to. We do know however that GM CEO Dan Akerson has previously promised GM would be bringing a 200-mile EV to market some time around 2016, so we’re pretty confident GM is going to be one of probably many customers for the new pack.

The question we’re all eager to have answered though is this: how much will a 200-mile battery pack cost?

Leave your guesses in the Comments below.


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  • Surya

    Oh yeah, gimme that battery upgrade for my ZOE please 🙂

  • Matt Beard

    It depends whose “guestimate” of range it is that reaches 200 miles. The Zoe has an NEDC range of 130 miles, so to update that to an NEDC range of 200 miles is only about a 55% increase, which is ok, but not Earth-shattering.

    • Surya

      I was thinking the same. So this claim is dependant on what country the customer comes from. If it is GM it will be closer to an actual 200 miles.nI don’t have much difficulty getting 100 miles from my ZOE but that would still mean it would need a 44kWh pack

    • vdiv

      I’ll take the 55%, won’t you? 🙂

      • Matt Beard

        I would – but I would rather get an EV with 200 miles according to the EPA!

  • freedomev

    Generally range/capacity increases like this don’t cost much as they weight the same if any more so could cut the cost to $100/kwhr from the $200/kwhr they cost now OEM.

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