New Breakthrough Could Be Holy Grail in EV Battery Research

A recent breakthrough by Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) researchers could revolutionize electric vehicle battery research and lead to the creation of next-generation EV batteries. Although current electric-vehicle batteries are a marvel of modern technology, they are still susceptible to disruption by the elements.

In extra-cold weather, for instance, chemical reactions within an EV battery slow down, causing the battery to lose efficiency and range. Data shows that cold weather can sap around 15%–20% of miles from an EV battery and potentially damage it long-term. EV and battery manufacturers have focused on developing next-generation batteries capable of resisting temperature extremes and maintaining efficiency when temperatures drop drastically.

SEAS researchers reported developing a novel solid-state battery that could recharge in the time it takes to refuel a conventional fossil-fuel car; the battery is designed to also go through at least 6,000 charging cycles. This new battery chemistry eschews the typical compact “pouch cell” lithium-ion batteries featured in the majority of electric cars.

This design has a high power-to-weight ratio, good high-temperature performance, high energy efficiency, low self-discharge and a relatively long life; however, it is known for its safety issues. Although lithium-ion battery fires are rare, there have been some cases of intense electric vehicle fires contributing to or outright causing building fires.

Several companies have spent the past couple of years working to develop safer solid-state batteries to support a wide rollout of mass electric vehicles. According to Harvard associate professor of materials science Dr. Xin Li, solid-state batteries are the “holy grail.” Despite looking similar to lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries replace the commonly used liquid electrolyte with solid materials, such as high-tech ceramic.

This alteration results in much better conductivity and significantly reduces the battery risk of spontaneous combustion. The Harvard team developed a small battery roughly the same size as a postage stamp and found that it retained 80% of its energy capacity after 6,000 charging cycles.

Researchers say the stamp-sized solid-state battery also performed well at low temperatures and outperformed all other types of solid-state batteries currently on the market. The research team notes that these improvements are due to its discovery of a new type of metal anode that has 10 times the energy capacity as the commercial graphite anodes used in lithium-ion EV batteries.

The new battery also features a multilayer, multimaterial design that helps it prevent the development of root-like structures called dendrites, which can bridge the gap between the anode and cathode, causing the battery to short and potentially catch fire.

With an estimated lifespan of around 30 years, the breakthrough battery could increase safety while significantly reducing overall EV purchase costs for the consumer. Li says these cost savings could encourage consumers to buy EVs and spur global electrification.

As more of these advanced batteries are commercialized, different EV makers such as Mullen Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: MULN) may switch to these superior alternatives in a bid to appeal to consumers who are wary about limited range and charging infrastructure.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Mullen Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: MULN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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