Chrysler’s Halcyon Concept EV Will Have Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

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Chrysler recently announced its Halcyon Concept electric sedan, saying that it “incorporates 800-volt lithium-sulfur batteries.” The reason for this noted addition is that these batteries have roughly 60% less of a carbon footprint than any other battery. Lithium-sulfur batteries use sulfur as opposed to nickel, cobalt, or manganese among their metals, making them a preferred choice for many.

The Promise

Chrysler’s announcement proudly stated, “Stellantis Ventures, the corporate venture fund of Stellantis, announced an investment in Lyten to accelerate the commercialization of Lyten 3D Graphene applications for the mobility industry.” However, this would be a first if Chryler’s vehicles were to contain these batteries, as no other car company has them on the road. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but it’s unclear how the company will manage this unique feat.

Will it Actually Happen?

The director of energy storage at the Electric Power Research Institute, Haresh Kamath, explained that lithium-sulfur batteries are a realistic alternative to the lithium-ion cells that are currently used. In fact, Kamath says that this has been known for the past 30 years. However, he added, “It’s likely to take years of steady work on the technology to [create] successful products, scalable manufacturing, and commercialization. There is no guarantee commercial lithium-sulfur products will be cost-competitive with lithium-ion. Mass commercialization will require us once again to address the big questions of fire and explosion hazards in a new technology that has important safety differences from lithium-ion. Taking any battery technology from the lab to the field is no joke: It requires a lot of capital investment and the wherewithal to successfully design, build, qualify, and scale up cells, then batteries, and then systems. This takes years. Even mature, knowledgeable, well-capitalized companies rarely hit their timelines.”

Photo by عبدالرحمن العنزي

Kamath did note, “Companies developing batteries today are huge operations backed by massive investment and the willingness to spend the time it takes to get there. These kinds of scale efforts by Sony and Panasonic in the 1980s resulted in the successful commercialization of the lithium-ion battery. These efforts are now being applied to solid-state batteries, silicon anodes, and others.” Only time will tell.