Powering the Future of Electric Vehicles with Innovative Battery Cell Design: Perspectives from the 2023 Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC)

Enovix
4 min readJan 4, 2024

By Dr. James Wilcox, Vice President of Business Development and Head of Enovix Mobility

Cell Thermal Design is Key to System Performance

As more and more EVs enter the market, battery technology must evolve to support faster charging without compromising safety. This message rang loud and clear at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) in San Diego in December, as leading technologists, EV OEMs, and supply chain experts gathered to discuss the challenges of creating better batteries and to offer glimpses of development work and future roadmaps.

I was fortunate to attend and present at AABC, as well as moderate several panel discussions. Our presentation titled “Enovix Cell Architecture Enables Multiple Advantages for EV OEMs,” focused on how Enovix has taken a different approach to building a next-generation battery cell. We have completely redesigned the mechanical structure of the battery allowing us to optimize thermal performance. While we’re entering the mobile device market first, we’re in discussions with several EV OEMs.

One of the key hurdles limiting EV performance is maintaining heat uniformity inside battery cells. Traditional lithium-ion battery chemistries are engineered to operate within a narrow band of temperatures. Deviating from this range can lead to reduced performance or even accelerated cell degradation, which is problematic for EVs, where consistent and reliable battery performance is non-negotiable.

What does Enovix cell architecture mean for EV OEMs?

Enovix Architecture EV Concept

At Enovix, we took a step back and thought, what would an ideal EV cell look like from a thermal perspective? First, you need to move heat in and out of the cell quickly with very low resistance. Our cells shift the orientation of the electrode stack allowing us to align the high thermal conductivity direction to the shortest dimension of the cell. We also put the cooling plate on the sidewall utilizing the largest surface area. With this re-orientation of the electrodes, we believe our cells can provide a 10x improvement in managing the internal temperature gradients compared to traditional EV cells.

Our approach differs from other solutions in the industry, such as reducing cell resistance, cell size or oversizing the cooling systems. We believe our cell architecture also enables significant opportunities to reduce the total system cost and improve performance. Efficient thermal cell design allows OEMs to optimize the cooling system and have a more uniform temperature distribution across the pack, while maintaining cell temperature in a very narrow window. One benefit of such a design is it allows for a higher operating temperature, thereby improving the efficiency of the cooling system. This could enable higher rate operation before hitting cell thermal limits, or could be used to reduce system cost through the use of smaller radiators, reduced compressor power and weight, or a simplified pack design. In addition to the potential for improved charge rates, the mechanical design of Enovix cells enable efficiencies such as improved charge performance at low temperatures though improved pack heating, and a reduction of time the cells experience high temperatures due to the ability of cells to rapidly cool, compared to traditional cell designs.

Enovix cells are material agnostic

Our unique mechanical structure accommodates volume expansion enabling us to take advantage of the best materials available. We can work with materials that swell, like silicon but provide high volumetric energy densities, due to our orthogonal electrode stack and integrated constraint system. We can work with pure silicon material, engineered silicon or beyond lithium-ion chemistry. Our goal is to tailor our battery architecture with the materials our customers prefer.

We’re excited about the possibilities our unique battery cell architecture can bring to the EV market. We are currently ramping up battery production using a 100% active silicon anode for smartphones and other consumer devices at our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Our cell architecture has been validated in the consumer electronics space and we are working with several EV OEMs using their preferred materials.

To read more about my presentation at the 2023 Advanced Automotive Battery Conference, you can find my slides here: Enovix Cell Architecture Enables Multiple Advantages for EV OEMs. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our journey in the EV sector.

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Enovix

Enovix Corporation (Nasdaq: ENVX) is an advanced silicon battery company with locations in Fremont, CA; Penang, Malaysia; Hyderabad, India.