The electric vehicles that Renault offers today are having a bit of difficulty attracting customers. Maybe 180 miles of range could make prospective car buyers shed their anxiety. That's what Renault and LG Chem might one day find out, since the two giants signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week to co-develop battery technology for long-range EVs.

While there was no talk about the exact single-charge range figure the companies are targeting, the implication was that the collaboration would be geared to double the typical battery's distance, which today sits at a little under 100 miles for most EVs. LG Chem is the world's largest maker of batteries used in those EVs, Business Korea reports. Renault can use all the help it can get, since the French automaker will delay the first sales of its electric Twingo because of lower-than-expected demand.

LG Chem started making Chevrolet Volt batteries at its Michigan factory last summer after a long delay getting its US factory up and running due to initially slow early sales for the Chevy PHEV, so long that LG Chem was paying workers to be idle in Michigan while shipping battery packs over from South Korea. The situation forced LG Chem to repay $842,000 of a federal stimulus grant that had been spent on idle worker payroll.


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  • 21 Comments
      Spec
      • 9 Months Ago
      Bring it on. However, I'd like that to be an option. People that are fine with smaller range batteries should still be allowed to buy them.
        Ryan
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Spec
        I would like to see them put it in a pickup truck as well. I will have mine on the road in July it is looking like... 180 best case, would still be 120 to be safe in less than ideal conditions. That would be enough to get to the next big town and back without needing to recharge.
      Dave
      • 9 Months Ago
      Any idiot can make a 180 mile battery. The trick is to make it affordable. Good luck, Renault / LG.
        JakeY
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Dave
        "Any idiot can make a 180 mile battery." That's an oversimplification. There's also an energy density issue. A 180 mile battery using current LG Chem cells in the Zoe and Volt won't be able to fit in a compact car (with the exception of experiments like the one of the prototype Leafs with the rear seat/trunk area full of batteries). Both LG and NEC/AESC (Nissan's supplier) are moving to full NMC chemistry in order to accomplish this. The Volt currently already has a NMC/manganese spinel mix (which is what gave it slightly higher capacity in 2013), but the switch to full NMC would mean even higher capacity. The only problem with that is dealing with the worse thermal stability and how to handle that in large format automotive cell (which is why NMC haven't reached large format cells yet). NMC however have been in 18650 format for years already (as have other even more volatile chemistries like lithium cobalt oxide). Tesla's already a step ahead since the Model S already launched with NCA chemistry (which is already cutting edge in density; an advantage of their choice to use 18650s) and likely moving to silicon anodes as the next step (and high voltage electrolyte after that).
        Neil Blanchard
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Dave
        It depends on what car it is put into. The efficiency of the car itself makes the biggest factor in the range you can get out of any battery.
      SublimeKnight
      • 9 Months Ago
      How is LG Chem the world's largest maker of EV batteries? They're only in the Volt, correct? In total cars produced, the LEAF, Volt, and Model S are about equal, however the Tesla has a much bigger pack than the LEAF, which is bigger than the Volt's. In my mind that makes Panasonic the EV battery leader, with Nissan in second, and LG in third. What am I missing?
        Joeviocoe
        • 9 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        So Danny King reports, "LG Chem is the world's largest maker of batteries used in those EVs, Business Korea reports" ... minutes later, Danny King reports, "Lux Research estimated that Panasonic has a 39-percent global market share for plug-in and hybrid batteries. NEC has 27 percent and LG Chem has 9 percent." Sounds like Business Korea is reporting VERY SPECIFIC numbers that favor a Korean company. But the objective reality is quite different.
        JakeY
        • 9 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        The LG Chem cells are also in the Renault Zoe. As for which is bigger, it depends on if they compare capacity, cells, or packs.
      • 9 Months Ago
      Hi The day seems to be getting nearer when a decent mileage will be achieved by these electric cars. Thanks eric roberts www.batterisontheweb.co.uk
      GoodCheer
      • 9 Months Ago
      Wow, can you imagine an EV with 180 miles range! That's cray-cray. cough...Tsla....cough
        Joe Acerbic
        • 9 Months Ago
        @GoodCheer
        Yeah, it's like some really tough all new technology that requires all sorts of cooperation and research for many, many years before it can become reality..
        Ryan
        • 9 Months Ago
        @GoodCheer
        I'm not sure they would sell many Leafs at $100,000. Or even $60,000, which is where the small cells TSLA is using would probably cost to put into the Leaf to get a 180 mile range.
          Joeviocoe
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          Grendal, I know. That was a good idea to drop the 24kwh Infiniti.... it would be like a Voltec Cadillac. If they go up in class, they need a bigger battery. treehugger, yes, I did know that. But I was being very conservative with the $300/kwh... since I wanted to show what Nissan could possibly muster.
          Edge
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          Joeviocoe: "$50k Leaf,.... not bad" Should sell as well as the Leaf sells in Canada. It's currently $50,000 here, and they sell very few of them. "Nissan Canada sold 56 Leafs in August and the year-to-date total is 346." from here: http://goo.gl/5bhy6w In other words, release a $50,000 Leaf anywhere, and kill it's sales.
          Joeviocoe
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          $300/kwh is not unreasonable for Tesla's cells. 180 miles would require 50 kwh. $15,000 for the cells. So with packaging. No more than $18k - $20k premium. $50k Leaf,.... not bad, but right, the Leaf brand is not a luxury performance brand that could ask $50k for a Leaf. But have Infiniti make it .... then maybe we are talking about a successful EV.
          Jon
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          @Joeviocoe, treehugger.inc Create a quality EV that appeals to a wide audience and sell it in a market segment where it can actually compete against similarly priced vehicles? Thats crazy talk! /s In all seriousness, if Ghosn is so bullish on EV's why does his product also smell like compliance?
          treehugger.inc
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          @ Joe: according to http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/17590-Model-S-Battery-Pack-Cost-Per-kWh-Estimate it is likely that Tesla has cracked the $200 per barrier already, charging $320 per for the upgrade to the larger pack at retail level. Given the Leafs current 24kwh pack it would be an $8320 premium for the 50kwh pack, bringing the base price up to $37k. Hide the cost in a Infinity version and it could be quite successful. And a far cry from $50k.
          Grendal
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          The luxury Leaf by Infiniti originally was said to use the same 24 kWh pack as the Leaf. I'm pretty sure Nissan dropped it over a year ago.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is meaningless phrase: "180-mile EV battery" Would you understand what a "180-mile fuel tank" was; or would that be a silly question? Make the EV more efficient and you get more range out of whatever battery is in it.
        Joeviocoe
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        Diminishing returns if focus on increasing efficiency of EVs. The overall efficiency TTW is 85% or greater. Larger batteries ARE needed.
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