Which EV Battery Format Will Win the Market?

When it comes to battery format (EV Battery Cell), there are three basic types: cylindrical, prismatic, and pouch cells.

Cylindrical cells, with their cylindrical shape and construction, were among the earliest types of mass-produced batteries, and they continue to be manufactured in large quantities and dominate specific applications to this day. Prismatic cells, on the other hand, have grown in popularity because of their enormous capacity, small profile, and efficient use of space. Because of its prismatic design, it is simple to link several cells together to form a larger battery pack. Finally, pouch cells are renowned for having a lighter construction due to the use of a sealed flexible foil as the container.

While each form of a battery cell is better suited to different scenarios, despite its limitations, the cylindrical cell has shown to be the most practical and versatile in many ways. However, due to their flexibility and overall optimization, pouch cells are gaining popularity and are poised to dominate the EV Battery Cell industry.

The overall consumption in the passenger car market in 2020 was 147 GWh for $17 billion. Based on the top six companies: LG, CATL, Panasonic, Samsung, BYD, and SKI, the market share was split as follows: prismatic 40%, pouch 35%, and cylindrical 15%. The remaining 10% of Tier 2 players may likewise be divided across the three forms.

The Cylindrical Cell

According to recent research, the worldwide Cylindrical Lithium-Ion Battery (EV Cell) market in 2019 was worth USD 7975.1 million. Due to its great mechanical stability and design, the cylindrical cell is typically manufactured using optimal automated methods and techniques, enhancing consistency and decreasing unit cost. Indeed, numerous manufacturers may supply this sort of EV battery cell, resulting in product consistency. This implies that if a company’s supplier is unable to supply for any reason, they will almost certainly locate another that produces the identical product in terms of performance and dimensions. This makes switching easy.

However, due to the cylindrical cell’s form, it is not feasible to completely utilize the space available in the battery pack, resulting in a lower cylindrical cell packing density. This is why cylindrical cells have reached their limit in terms of performance and optimization, raising concerns about their suitability for next-generation EV batteries.

Another restriction is that you need a considerably higher cell count: even with a 4680 with 25 Ah capacity, as Tesla demonstrated last year, the cell count is four times that of a 100 Ah flat cell for the same pack capacity, which increases the overhead for BMS, TMS, and so on.

The Prismatic Cell

The prismatic cell’s packing benefits are based on its tiered approach to materials, which is used mostly in consumer electronics vehicles. Their shape is similar to a box of chewing gum or a little chocolate bar, and while they come in a variety of sizes, there is no uniform standard, and each maker creates their own.

The Pouch Cell

The soft aluminum coating enables a lighter battery and, depending on the application, more flexible size and available space. This results in flexible EV cells that can readily fit into a particular product’s available area. This corresponds to 90-95 percent packing efficiency and higher energy density in terms of space optimization.

Pouch cells have the potential to match next-generation performance batteries by shifting to more practical designs, therefore accelerating the electrification demands of EVs and consumer devices.

For instance, in Tesla’s first EV, they employed a large number of cylindrical cells at the same time to generate a large amount of energy at a cheap cost. Indeed, Tesla purchased low-cost commodity batteries (18650 cylindrical from Panasonic) and employed a large number of them in conjunction with a high-quality battery management system (energy management software).

One significant drawback of the pouch cell format is the absence of uniformity, which affects production costs and selling prices. As the pouch cell develops further, it will become more generally available, acceptance will rise, and it will be more extensively utilized in vehicles. Standardization will enhance production, efficiency, decrease costs, and increase volumes while improving performance.

Furthermore, the pouch cell requires further optimization because of its reduced mechanical resistance and possible expansion due to aging-induced by gas formation.

While the cylindrical cell has hit its limit in terms of increasing energy density, it will not disappear from the market. Instead, the pouch cell will have a larger share of the battery industry, especially as more research and development is invested in it and it becomes more mass-produced.

Pouch cells are also expected to be the most widely utilized since the solid-state battery, often regarded as the holy grail of EV batteries, can only operate in the pouch cell configuration. As solid-state becomes commercially viable, which experts predict will happen between 2025 and 2030, the industry will embrace it, which means that batteries will be converted to the pouch shape.

Looking ahead, it looks that when the pouch cell gets improved and mass-produced, flatforms (pouch and prismatic) will be the most popular, particularly for automotive and energy storage applications.

Battery Formats and New 3D Architecture Technologies

The innovative technique developed by Addionics is compatible with all formats, enhances mechanical stability by embedding layers, and offers extra advantages for pouch cells. As a result, it makes sense to pay special attention to the pouch cell, which gains the most from Addionics and is also one of the most popular forms for next-generation EV battery cells. This, along with the intrinsic characteristics of pouch cells, results in one of the most versatile and powerful batteries available.