Electric Cars envia ev battery breakthrough

Published on July 29th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Envia Wins Battery Contract With Detroit Automakers

July 29th, 2014 by  

envia ev battery breakthrough

Battery company Envia Systems promised an affordable 200-mile battery pack to General Motors back in 2012, but failed to deliver. A revealing expose cast light on the company’s own doubts and troubles, though much of that appears to be behind them…hopefully.

Green Car Congress reports that the US Advanced Battery Consortium, which consists of GM, Chrysler, and Ford, has awarded a $7.7 million battery development contract to Envia. Perhaps the second time’s the charm?

The bid was co-funded by the US Department of Energy, which recently awarded Envia $3.8 million to continue development on a low-cost, 200+ mile battery pack for electric vehicles. Development will focus on a lithium-ion layered cathode and a silicon-based anode which could deliver on Envia’s promise of a battery pack that costs just $150 per kWh.

America is a country that loves to give second chances, and Envia seemed to be onto something there for awhile. Maybe the second time around they’ll finally deliver.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    Detroit is going back for steam powered cars as Envia sells mostly vapor.

    I wonder what is wrong with Panasonic NCA batteries that have good enough energy density and cost only about $300 per kWh. For 60 kWh battery, the cost difference is only about $9000 and this is very insignificant.

    Tesla’s gigafactory will probably slash the cost down under 200 per kWh due to scale benefits.

    • jeffhre

      That’s the retail price, not what Tesla pays?

      • Jouni Valkonen

        We do not know what is the cost of Panasonic batteries or how much Tesla is paying. $300 dollars is just an educated guess, but Elon Musk said few days ago that they are looking forward to go close to $100 so today’s price for NCA batteries might be closer to $200 than $300.

        This is already cheap enough for about 10 % or cars or about 10 million cars annually sold could be long range plug-in cars. This about 300 fold potential for market expansion from 2014 sales of long range EVs.

  • vensonata

    Ok, battery people…how many cycles? We hear $150kw, but does it get at least 2000 cycles like most of the lower end lithium. If it does then the pack needs to be 50 kwh to get 200 miles. 50 x $150 = $7500 battery cost. 200 x 2000cycles =400,000miles. at 15,000 miles per year the battery will last 26 years! Now we’re talking.

    • Bob_Wallace

      On their site Envia claims 2,000 cycles before batteries fall to 80% capacity. 100% DoD. C/3 charging and discharging.

      3,300 cycles in hybrids with 90% DoD cycling.


      It sounds very promising, but Envia took a bad stumble a few months back. I’d recommend a wait and see approach.

      But $7,500 and 400,000 miles? That would be a winner.

      • vensonata

        yes, a winner… $7500 divided by 400,000miles = 2cents a mile.

        • Burnerjack

          Well, no counting charging costs…

          • Bob_Wallace

            0.3 kWh/mile * $0.12/kWh = $0.036/mile for charging. + $0.02/mile for battery = $0.056/mile.

          • Burnerjack

            Not intending to be overly picayune, but where I am, I pay $0.185/kwh. Of course, this is vastly cheaper than what fossil fuel engines consume. I just wonder what tariffs the politicians will levy on EVs once they become more mainstream. Conjecture, sure, but likely? I’d bet the farm on it. Taxes and prices in general have gone from what is required to be viable to what can be extracted from the public. Back on point, between fuel and maintenance costs, EVs are (or will be) a hands down no brainer.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We will need some sort of a tax to cover highway maintenance. The gas tax, inadequate as it already is, will cease producing revenue. I expect some sort of price based on miles driven will be established with the option of making monthly payments.

            At 18.5c/kWh it may be solar time. Especially if you get a decent deal on the power you send to the grid and could lower your charging cost.

          • Robert Pollock

            We have 4500 miles on our Spark EV, we almost never pay for electricity, here in Palm Springs, there are 20 + charging stations, most of which are free. Chevy gave me $500 towards an already 40% off Bosch level II charger, which I installed in our garage, six months ago. Haven’t used it yet.

      • Offgridman

        With the same 200 mile range number, maybe this is part of the Sonic rumor from the gas2 story a couple days ago.
        Hoping so anyways, personally just need something that will get us the 620 miles to Florida for the holidays without to many stops. Or the kids will get bugging that we need to stop for the night at a hotel, and after ten hours my back will be saying the same thing.

    • Steve Grinwis

      Sadly, batteries don’t work like that presently. 10 years will probably result in close to 30% capacity reduction even the battery is not used. It’s both cycle AND age that wears most current batteries.

      Also: The range for most batteries these days is restricted by cost, not density. If we can get it down to $150 / kWh, some engineer somewhere will find a way to stick it in your car for you, and keep it cool. That’s a much easier problem to solve.

      • Calamity_Jean

        So at 25% capacity reduction the battery gets repurposed into home or commercial stationary electric storage and the car owner gets a 75% credit toward a new battery. Or just buys a new car and the trade-in value is the value of the battery pack. Or buys a new car and demotes the old one to the teenage driver’s “around the town” car. And of course once the capacity gets really bad the battery can be recycled.

        • Steve Grinwis

          I also present to you a different option:

          You recondition the battery by replacing the worst cells. Most of the cells could be fine, but the pack performs at the capacity of the weakest link. Take the bottom 10% of cells, replace them, and bingo, you’re back up to 90% capacity again, and you keep trucking. I know Tesla can do this, as can Mitsubishi. Potentially my Smart as well. I don’t know about other manufacturers. But if they can’t, then they should

          • Calamity_Jean

            Yeah, that would work too.

        • Robert Pollock

          You know Calamity. That’s what I see happening too, cars will become like computers, swap out components….

          • Burnerjack

            It will be interesting to see the “hot rod”/aftermarket develop for EVs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Check out the White Zombie –


      • Robert Pollock

        I chose the Spark EV because it has a cooling system for the battery, and we live in the low (Sonora) desert. Yesterday, high of 114 F or so, a full charge gave us 83 miles on the clock, that’s the worst since we got the car Nov 4. During winter, it routinely charged to 100, 103, 101, etc..

        But the faster you go the less distance you will cover. I think Einstein mentioned, “as a body accelerates it gets heavier”. It’s illegal in California to leave an animal unattended in a car. Tell that to our two mutts, they love riding in the back, it’s dog proofed.

        At CVS, they wait in the car. I leave it running with the AC on, set to 78F or so, douse the lights and lock it. From the outside there is no way to tell it’s running, I’m waiting for some good Samaritan to see it and think, “my god, those poor animals!” Meanwhile, with the cookies, water, AC and 360 degree views, they’re in 1st class.

      • eveee

        Depends on how the battery is treated. Here is an example. A LiFeSo4 battery will give you 1000 cycles at 100% discharge. But,
        3000 cycles at 90%, 5000 cycles at 80% and a whopping 8000 cycles at 70% depth of discharge. If it was 100 mile range battery at 100% depth of discharge, it would give you 100,000 miles. But if you restricted its discharge to 70% you would get 560,000 miles. The other factor that affects life is full charge. That is why Teslas normally charge to only 80%. You will not lose capacity even if you don’t use the EV if you do not charge to 100% and keep it there without driving it.

        • Steve Grinwis

          That’s not true. If you keep it at 40% charge in a cool place, and never discharge it, the battery will still age. It will probably not affect the typical user, but a 12 year old rarely cycled pack is not going to perform like a new pack.

          I’m a huge EV enthusiast, and own an EV, but let’s not have delusions of grandeur.

          • eveee

            I am aware of battery characteristics and the voltage degradation of capacity.
            I would like to see some references on battery aging at 40% charge. It actually depends less on charge and more on cell voltage and on chemistry. Battery university gives references for LiCo batteries, typical laptop types, which charge to 4.2V. Here is what they say:

            “In terms of optimal longevity, a voltage limit of 3.92V/cell works best but the capacity would only be about half compared to a 4.20V/cell charge (3.92V/cell is said to eliminate all voltage-related stresses).”

            The statement that the battery ages due to voltage stress at 40% charge is questionable on that basis, but it depends. LiFe batteries are shipped at 40% SOC. Why would they do that? Its optimal for battery life. The reference shows the amount of degradation at high voltage, (thus high SOC). So the optimal use pattern is to charge to only the amount necessary, ideally keeping the charge to less than 80%, and/or the voltage lower than about 4V, and as soon as possible, use it (discharge). The degradation is due to voltage, so discharge helps that. On average, the battery voltage will be low over its operating lifetime, only high briefly after charge, and with daily use never at high charge voltages for long. Looking at the Tesla, what do we see? The standard setting is for 80% charge max. A smart user would charge even less, knowing that daily driving of about 30 to 50 miles is far less than the pack capacity. Start from a low SOC and end well short of full DOD. Easy with a Tesla. This is shown in the Volt and other hybrids which are only designed to use half the battery capacity to increase battery life.


          • Steve Grinwis

            Right, and none of this will change the fact that a battery sitting at 40% SoC in a cool environment (Ideal for reducing battery aging) will age even if not cycled at all. There are lots of things you can do to reduce aging, perhaps even to the point where it’s not worth talking about. I don’t have numbers on how various li-ion chemistries age. But it will still age.

            I don’t think batteries aging out will impact the average driver much. We just aren’t going to be seeing 20 year old battery packs still going strong. And that’s fine. People will either buy new cars, or new packs.

            By all reports the Tesla packs are kicking ass. Hopefully other manufacturers will be doing awesome as well.

      • Isn’t the calendar-aging only true for current lithium-cobalt based chemistries?

        We don’t know too much about the solid state battery version. Possibly, the same calendar-aging issues don’t plague it at all.

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