Samsung has chosen a wise time to start building long-range car batteries: China plans to ban gas-powered cars and automobile giant Volkswagen will offer electric versions of all their vehicles by 2030.
These millions of forthcoming vehicles will need powerful batteries, and Samsung just introduced its “multifunctional battery packs” at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, which it claims can power electric cars for up to 430 miles. That would theoretically get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco with about 50 miles to spare.
For reference, Tesla says that the recently released Model 3, its affordable class vehicle, has batteries that can power the car for 220 miles.
The 200-mile difference between Tesla and Samsung sounds notable, but Tesla batteries have been powering its electric vehicles for years, while Samsung’s innovative offering has yet to hit the road. Without road-testing, its unknown what type and size of electric vehicle will actually be able to travel some 430 miles when powered by Samsung’s battery packs.
Although Samsung’s battery division, Samsung SDI, didn’t reveal too many details about its multifunctional battery pack, it has some similarities with the small, cylindrical batteries Tesla is putting into its Model 3, called the 2170 battery cell. Currently being produced in Tesla’s sprawling desert Gigafactory, these 2170 batteries can be held in the palm your hand, and Elon Musk calls them the highest density battery cells in the world.
Samsung is apparently placing similar cylindrical batteries (called 21700 batteries) in book or block-like modules that increase the batteries energy storage. In a press release, Samsung said that more of these battery-packed modules can be added to a vehicle to increase the vehicle’s driving range:
“Its users can change the number of modules as they want as if they place books on a shelf. For example, if 20 modules are installed in a premium car, it can go 600 to 700 kilometers. If 10 to 12 modules are mounted on a regular sedan, it can run up to 300 kilometers.”
If a sedan-like electric vehicle can run 700 kilometers (430 miles) without a charge, it will certainly prove a formidable challenge to Tesla’s electric sedans. For now, however, Tesla’s batteries are powering cars on roads all over the nation. And alongside these roads the company is strategically placing Supercharger stations to power up cars in “a matter of minutes” — for those taking their Teslas on trips across the country.