The main materials of an electric vehicle battery include lithium-ion cobalt oxide and graphite. Lithium-ion cobalt oxide is the main positive electrode material used in EV batteries today. Many other materials are also used, but these two are the most important. The second most commonly used material is graphite. In most cases, both materials are sourced from different sources to give them varying characteristics and cost points. In this blog post, we’ll talk about where these materials come from and what that means for your wallet as well as the environment. Let’s get started…
What are the main materials used in an electric vehicle battery?
These two materials — lithium-ion cobalt oxide and graphite — make up the positive and negative electrodes of an EV battery.
Lithium-ion cobalt oxide is the main positive electrode material used in EV batteries today. It is the most expensive of the three main materials but has a higher capacity than graphite and other materials.
The other materials all have their own uses and benefits, but none are as commonly used as lithium-ion cobalt oxide. Graphite is the second most commonly used material in EV batteries. It is a cheaper substitute for lithium-ion cobalt oxide and performs fairly well in many EV battery applications. It is sometimes used as the main positive electrode material, while lithium-ion cobalt oxide is used as a secondary positive electrode material.
Lithium-ion cobalt oxide
Lithium-ion cobalt oxide is the key positive electrode material in EV batteries. It has the highest energy density, or capacity, of the three main materials with a combined weight of 730Wh/kg, compared to graphite with a capacity of 360Wh/kg and 520Wh/kg for graphite and cobalt electrodes in a hybrid battery. Cobalt’s use in EV batteries first began in 2014, when it was discovered to have a high electronic conductivity. This, along with its high capacity, makes it a perfect fit for EV batteries. When lithium-ion batteries were first invented, cobalt was not the main material used. However, when it was discovered to have high electronic conductivity, it made more sense to add it to the mix.
Graphite is the cheaper version of lithium-ion cobalt oxide and has fewer advantages than lithium-ion cobalt oxide. It has a capacity of 360Wh/kg and a lower specific energy of 299Wh/kg. The specific energy is how much electrical energy a battery can store per unit of mass. In simple terms, you can think of it as how much charge you can infuse into your car. It is the amount of energy your car can travel or run for a certain amount of time before needing a recharge.
The rest of the material list
– Molybdenum: A key ingredient to create a solid electrolyte, molybdenum forms anodes in EV batteries. It also helps improve the resistance to extreme temperatures.
Silicon: is an important material that is used in the silicon-graphite-ion-plastic (or “SGI”) formula of EV battery cells. It has a high melting point, making it a good choice for EV batteries.
Titanium: is a key ingredient in the cathode of EV batteries. It helps form the current-conducting parts in EV batteries.
Silicon oxides: are used as the active material in EV batteries. They are mixed with lithium-ion cobalt oxide to create the cells in EV batteries.
Nanomaterials: As the use of nanomaterials for solid-state batteries continues to rise, so does the use of nanomaterials in EV batteries.
How much does an EV battery cost?
The costs of an EV battery depend on the battery model, brand, and supplier. Prices can range from $10,000 to $200,000. Unfortunately, there is no one-price-fits-all answer for EV battery prices. Factors such as battery capacity and energy density — the amount of energy a battery holds in a certain amount of space — can play a large role in how much a battery will cost you.