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Honda joins SES-led lithium-metal battery project

Honda emblem (Reuters-Yonhap)
Honda emblem (Reuters-Yonhap)
Honda has become the third global automaker after General Motors and Hyundai Motor to jointly develop next-generation electric vehicle batteries with SES, a Boston-based startup set to go public in the US this year.

According to SES Thursday, the Japanese automaker agreed to acquire a 2 percent stake in the startup and jointly develop lithium-metal batteries, which are 30 percent more powerful than the strongest lithium-ion batteries in the market.

“Honda has joined General Motors and Hyundai Motor as the third major global car manufacturer to enter an A-sample joint development agreement with SES. It will become the largest investor in the $275 million financing of SES,” an SES official said.

Honda has been weighing options for next-generation batteries, including solid-state batteries that the carmaker is developing independently. As solid-state batteries are years away from commercialization -- in 2027 at the earliest -- SES’ lithium-metal batteries will offer the Japanese firm secure advanced batteries to replace conventional lithium-ion batteries.

In November 2021, SES unveiled Apollo, a 107 ampere-hour lithium-metal battery that is the largest in the world and is targeted at the automotive industry.

Lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries share identical structures. The major difference is that lithium-metal batteries, as the name suggests, use lithium metal for the negative electrodes, whereas lithium-ion batteries use graphite mixed with silicon. This change of chemistry results in significant improvement in energy density and driving range.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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