OXIS Energy in the UK and Lithium Balance of Denmark are developing the first prototype Lithium Sulfur battery system for an e-scooter that will be manufactured in China in 2018.
Over 30 million e-scooters are made in China each year, of which 98% use lead acid with the remaining 2% using Lithium-Ion. The current prototype battery has a capacity of 1.2kWh using 10Ah OXIS Long Life cells, weighs 60% less than the current lead acid battery and a significant increase in range.
The next stage is to build a second prototype using an improved Long Life chemistry (up to 20Ah) which will increase battery capacity at a reduced weight. This will be ready by the end of the year, reducing production costs to meet the demand of the Chinese market.
“The development of the first Lithium Sulfur e-scooter battery system will allow Chinese manufacturers to circumvent the use of unsafe, toxic and environmentally damaging battery systems such as lead acid and Lithium-Ion,” said Huw Hampson-Jones, chief executive of Oxis Energy, based at the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire. “This will allow Chinese consumers to travel longer distances with a significantly greater degree of safety and flexibility and with a battery system that’s 60% lighter – the latter being very important to Chinese commuters living in high rise city apartments. In effect, the market of rechargeable lithium batteries will undergo a quantum leap forward in the adoption of state of the art renewable energy technology. This will contribute to cleaner air quality in the major urban areas of China.”
Lithium Balance, based just outside Copenhagen at Ishoj, has supplied its BMS for Lithium-Ion based e-scooters for a decade, but lithium sulphur technology requires new charging algorithms.
“This project represents a technology breakthrough for Lithium Balance,” said Lars Barkler, CEO. “Working with OXIS Energy we have implemented dedicated BMS algorithms that optimizes the performance of Lithium Sulphur batteries. This could not be achieved with an ordinary Lithium-Ion BMS.”
The two companies say they are on track to have their battery systems shipping in China by spring 2018. This follows a £2m investment made by OXIS into new processes and production machinery in preparation for mass production of Lithium sulfur cell technology.
OXIS Energy has been granted 79 patents with 93 pending for Polymer Lithium Sulfur cells for electric vehicles battery systems. Alongside the weight and power advantages, Oxis says it can demonstrate that the chemistry and technology is inherently safe and biodegradable.