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Echion’s six-minute charge for electric car batteries passes first hurdle




Jean de La Verpillière, Echion’s CEO, and members of the Echion team at work in their Sawston battery R&D facility where the company’s fast-charging Mixed Niobium Oxide material was developed
Jean de La Verpillière, Echion’s CEO, and members of the Echion team at work in their Sawston battery R&D facility where the company’s fast-charging Mixed Niobium Oxide material was developed

Echion Technologies’s promise to reduce the charging time for electric cars to six minutes moved closer this week with the announcement that it has demonstrated a six-minute charge Li-ion battery cell with 200 per cent improvement in anode volumetric capacity over commercial competitors, thanks to its proprietary Mixed Niobium Oxide (MNO) anode material.

The CEO of Sawston-based Echion, Jean de La Verpillière, said: “This is a major milestone in our technology roadmap.

“With this commercial-grade prototype we demonstrate a safe six-minute charge power cell with a 640mAh/cm3 volumetric capacity anode, which is a 200 per cent improvement over the best lithium titanate, or LTO, anodes.

“Our MNO niobium material will enable our customers to deploy advanced batteries in large markets where the safety, charge rate capability, or energy density limitations of commercial anode materials had so far prevented the adoption of fast-charging technologies.”

Echion will provide access to its intellectual property portfolio and know-how to large-scale battery materials manufacturer and cell manufacturer customers. It is now working on a pilot-scale demonstration of its technology.

Echion’s superfast Li-ion electric vehicle battery technology could be used to power vehicles including buses, taxes, motorhomes and even planes
Echion’s superfast Li-ion electric vehicle battery technology could be used to power vehicles including buses, taxes, motorhomes and even planes

Of the new MNO material, Jean told the Cambridge Independent: “The MNO material is the result of hundreds of different chemical compounds being trialled as fast-charge anodes. This is a journey that started at Cambridge University during my PhD, and was continued at Echion after we spun out in 2017, which is where the MNO material we are now commercialising was discovered and optimised.

“We are manufacturing pilot quantities of the material in-house, and are working with partners such as William Blythe to be able to supply larger quantities to cell manufacturers.

“Ultimately our business model is to license the MNO material and fast-charge cell technology to large materials manufacturers and cell manufacturers, and help them best deploy the technology to reach their customers.”

The development has been assisted by advanced materials manufacturer William Blythe Ltd, whose business development manager Mike Butler said: “We are pleased to be working with Echion. We are confident that our partnership will help deliver high-quality fast-charging battery materials at scale, for which there is a very strong demand in the battery industry.”

Following the demonstration of its fast-charge, high-capacity MNO niobium materials in a commercial-grade prototype, Echion Technologies is now ramping up worldwide commercialisation efforts, targeting a 2022 commercial launch for its products.

Echion Technologies co-founders CEO Jean de la Verpillière, left and CTO Alex Groombridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Echion Technologies co-founders CEO Jean de la Verpillière, left and CTO Alex Groombridge. Picture: Keith Heppell


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