If a German company invents the “eternal battery”, will latecomers catch up?

October 30, 2023
Latest company news about If a German company invents the “eternal battery”, will latecomers catch up?

In fact, the “arms race” in the power battery industry has already begun.


It is no exaggeration to say that the primary factor hindering the development of new energy vehicles is none other than power batteries.

In particular, many pure electric vehicles have inherent deficiencies such as energy replenishment anxiety and range anxiety, as well as potential safety risks and depreciation risks, all of which are closely related to power batteries.


"Those who win power batteries will win the world in the era of new energy vehicles."


Obviously, BYD is a shining example. Relying on the cost and performance advantages of its blade batteries, it has gradually built itself into a leading new energy vehicle brand in the domestic and even global automotive markets.

But on the other side of the market, as consumers demand diversified and complex new energy vehicles, power batteries, which account for 30% to 60% of the total vehicle cost, are in urgent need of upgrades in all aspects.

Performance will not degrade after decades of use. "


According to the German "Le Monde" news, the Bonn-based High Performance Battery Technology Company (HPB) claims to have found the "philosopher's stone" and has developed a new solid-state battery that can be mass-produced, solving almost all the problems of batteries.


 "We are convinced that we hold the green key to the energy transition," said the company's CEO Sebastian Heinz.

Here's the key point - "almost solves all battery problems."


In other words, if the news is true, then this "eternal battery" invented by HPB will have at least the following advantages: high enough energy density, fast enough charging, long enough life, safe enough to use, and low enough cost. 


Furthermore, if this is indeed the case, then the power battery industry, and even the entire new energy vehicle industry, will take a big step forward. It's a pity that we did not retrieve more relevant information about this.


According to relevant reports, HPB’s solid-state battery technology is based on the basic research results of Günther Hambitzer, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute, over the past 30 years. Hambitzer has successfully halted the aging process of traditional lithium-ion batteries by adding a new blend of ingredients to the battery.


In other words, the main focus of HPB’s “eternal battery” is long cycle life.


To give a simple example, everyone knows that when lithium batteries are used for a long time, whether it is a mobile phone or a tram, they will become less "resistant to use", and this is what we often call "life decay". Therefore, it is not surprising that the battery life of a pure electric vehicle with a range of 500 kilometers drops to 300 or 400 kilometers after being driven for two or three years.

The reason is that during the charging and discharging process of lithium batteries, the anode often forms a covering layer. Over time and with each use, the covering layer will continue to grow, consuming battery capacity and increasing internal resistance, resulting in reduced battery performance.


It is precisely because of "battery decay" that everyone's perception of pure electric vehicles has been labeled as "not maintaining value." Coupled with the application of CTB and CTC technologies, battery pack replacement has further become a "sky-high price" repair. Obviously, no consumer wants to be cut off again after four or five years.


"HPB batteries will only form a very thin coating on the first charge and will not grow any further."


“The internal resistance remains essentially the same throughout its service life.”


"The first batch of samples has completed 12,500 charging cycles (charge and discharge once per hour) without any degradation in performance."


"At minus 40 degrees Celsius, the battery conductivity is definitely higher than the optimal conductivity of traditional liquid electrolytes at 60 degrees Celsius above zero."


"Mass production will begin next year and quickly expanded into a super factory."


Perhaps the laboratory data of the "eternal battery" invented by this German company can indeed achieve the above mentioned, but one thing that cannot be ignored is that there is still a long distance between the laboratory and large-scale commercial production. The most direct example here is that the 4680 large cylindrical battery that Tesla boasts of is still in the process of being "difficult to produce."


In fact, it is not just German battery companies that are trying to break through the "Prisoner's Dilemma". China's major new energy vehicle brands, battery manufacturers such as CATL, China Innovation and Aviation, and even Tesla, the "big devil" in the car circle, are actively Seeking breakthroughs and innovations in power battery technology.


However, as an asset-heavy power battery industry, firstly, it needs the blessing of economies of scale to reduce costs; secondly, it needs a large amount of practical data to gradually improve the formula model; thirdly, it needs to be prepared for a protracted war.

In terms of battery technology alone, CATL’s condensed matter batteries are remarkable. The single energy density can reach up to 500Wh/kg, which is far ahead of the 250Wh/kg of mainstream ternary lithium batteries and the 180Wh/kg of lithium iron phosphate batteries. But it seems that the cost cannot be reduced.


Not long ago, Toyota Motor also announced an agreement with Japanese energy giant Idemitsu. The two parties will cooperate to develop solid electrolyte mass production technology, improve productivity and establish a supply chain to ensure that there will be all-solid-state electrolytes in 2027~2028. Battery-powered vehicles were launched on the market, and full-scale mass production was achieved thereafter.

In short, there are many people who have succeeded, and everyone is seizing the opportunity.


From the initial production capacity competition, product competition, and performance competition to the current cost competition, brand competition, and technology competition, the power battery industry has always been developing rapidly along with the new energy automobile industry. In this process, there is a very overbearing logic, that is, whoever can seize the opportunity first will be able to achieve something and take advantage of the trend.


Although this has also caused the current power battery market structure to solidify, with China, Japan and South Korea competing against each other. But it should not be denied that one day in the future, a start-up company may still climb over the three mountains of CATL, LG New Energy, and Panasonic, achieve overtaking in a corner, and create a new era.

Please believe that Germany’s “Eternal Battery” will not be the last to impact the current inherent pattern of the power battery market. The new energy vehicle era that has arrived will become even more dazzling and colorful due to the development and innovation of these new products and new technologies.