VinFast automobiles is probably not a typical sight in western nations however the firm has been carving out market share in its house market of Vietnam because it started manufacturing of BMW-based fashions in 2019. The corporate secured greater than 31,000 gross sales in 2020, up 62.4% on the earlier 12 months and, in 2021, clarified its plans for electrifying its lineup. This may start with a three-model offensive that includes the VF e34, VF e35 and VF e36, with the previous arriving with clients on the finish of 2021.
Nevertheless, with new gamers reminiscent of Tesla, Rivian and Lucid all additional alongside of their EV methods, and legacy auto gamers reminiscent of Mercedes, Volkswagen and Ford now rolling out their very own electrified fashions, VinFast dangers arriving on the scene too late to make a lot of an influence, particularly in export markets past Vietnam.
To assist mitigate this threat, VinFast has made a lot of investments in superior EV battery expertise. Batteries have emerged as the important thing technological differentiator amongst EVs and are the one largest consider figuring out a automobile’s vary, efficiency, longevity and buy value. If an OEM can steal a lead over its rivals by securing provide of batteries that outperform or undercut the competitors, it might simply catapult its EV to the highest of the gross sales charts.
Most just lately, VinFast introduced that it had led an $80 million funding spherical in Israeli next-generation battery expertise startup, StoreDot – BP Ventures and Golden Power additionally joined the spherical. The startup, which has additionally secured partnerships with Daimler, Samsung, TDK and Chinese language battery mass producer EVE Power, has developed a novel lithium-ion cell design able to extraordinarily quick cost charges. StoreDot demonstrated this expertise in 2019 with an electrical two-wheeler take a look at automobile that could possibly be absolutely charged from flat in simply 5 minutes.
The brand new cell chemistry, dubbed XFC for eXtreme Quick Cost, takes a considerably various method to lowering EV vary nervousness – the priority that EV house owners shall be left stranded if their automobile runs out of cost. Most developments within the area are targeted on rising the power density of present batteries to squeeze extra vary out of a single cost, however StoreDot’s expertise locations a better significance on rising charging speeds to carry refill occasions down. The corporate hopes to scale back the period of time house owners have to spend at charging stations, bringing the expertise nearer to the fiveminute refill occasions loved by fossil-fuel-powered automobiles.
StoreDot has not revealed the intimate inside workings of the XFC’s cell chemistry, however has revealed that one of many developments it depends on is a silicon-based anode. Anodes are generally comprised of graphite in immediately’s mass produced Liion cells and, whereas silicon is extensively thought of to be a greater materials for the applying due to its better power density, it might probably endure from swelling when charging, which may result in cracks and mechanical failure of the battery.
StoreDot’s cells additionally depend on the engineering of nano-scale particles to use ultra-thin coatings of lively supplies to battery electrodes. These nano-scale particles allow the speedy motion of lithium ions by means of the cell in addition to sustaining excessive electrical conductivity for good charging and discharging efficiency. The corporate additionally says that it has developed 3D natural polymers that may self-heal contained in the battery cell because it lithiates and delithiates by means of the cost/discharge cycle.
The startup’s expertise roadmap exhibits that it expects to place its silicon-anode-based Li-ion cells into mass manufacturing by 2024 – probably with the assistance of a large-scale battery accomplice. Additional down the road, StoreDot plans to mix this improvement with a solid-based electrolyte, which ought to supply important enhancements in power density, charging efficiency, cell lifecycle and fireplace resistance in comparison with immediately’s unstable liquid-based electrolytes.
StoreDot’s ambition to develop a solid-state cell neatly dovetails with VinFast’s personal acknowledged targets for its battery expertise improvement. In March 2021, the Vietnamese automaker was reported to have entered discussions with Foxconn, Taiwan’s contract electronics meeting large, to entry its solid-state battery expertise, which is because of go on sale in 2024. Foxconn has taken important steps during the last three years to organize itself for EV manufacturing. At one level, it even thought of buying VinFast’s entire manufacturing operation however the Vietnamese firm opted for a technical partnership as an alternative to retain possession over the worth chain.
This text first appeared in GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Middle