SK On prepares to launch prismatic cell production

The South Korean battery cell manufacturer SK On wants to start producing prismatic cells this year. The new battery type will be presented in a few days at InterBattery 2023, the largest battery trade fair in South Korea.

SK On has so far mainly produced pouch cells and wants to reach a larger customer base with the new prismatic cells. The manufacturer emphasises the high charging speed of its new cell type, which is even faster than SK On’s “Super Fast” battery, which can be charged up to 80 per cent in 18 minutes. Hyundai and Kia, for example, also quote a charging time of 18 minutes to 80 per cent for their E-GMP models Ioniq 5 and EV6.

SK On is not providing any further details on the prismatic cell, such as the specific improvement in charging speed, energy density or cell chemistry, in the run-up to the trade fair. InterBattery 2023 will take place from 15 to 17 March.

Pouch cells with their relatively thin foil pouches are quite widespread in electric cars, they are used in a wide variety of vehicles. BMW, for example, has long relied on prismatic cells with a more stable housing – but is now switching to round cells for its upcoming New Class electric platform. The VW unit cell is also a prismatic cell.

In addition to the new prismatic cell, SK On will also exhibit its LFP batteries and pure solid-state cells at the fair. The South Korean company signed a development agreement with the US solid-state battery specialist Solid Power in autumn of 2021.

In addition to the LFP cell, which is by definition cobalt-free, there is also to be another “Co-Free” battery. Here, too, there are no details yet. SK On so far only states that the development of this cell was completed a year earlier than planned. And thanks to the company’s own high-nickel technology, it has been possible to increase the energy density.

Incidentally, according to SK On, the material and electrode technology acquired through the high-nickel battery also made it possible to improve the LFP battery – even though no nickel is used there. The Koreans state that the battery’s performance at -20 degrees is still 70 to 80 per cent – conventional LFP batteries are said to offer only 50 to 70 per cent of the nominal performance.


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