New Lifetime Rebuildable Battery Takes Worry Out of Buying Electric Vehicles
by Sara Isenberg
Publisher, Santa Cruz Tech Beat
Electric vehicle (EV) technology developer NTS Works has created a small and powerful battery that can be rebuilt and upgraded for half the cost of a new replacement battery. The battery represents a large step toward making EVs of all sizes affordable and more environmentally sustainable.
When the battery of an EV accounts for half the total vehicle cost, buyers worry about the battery wearing out and being too expensive to replace. With the NTS Works Lifetime Rebuildable Battery technology, the battery can be easily rebuilt and upgraded with standard sized lithium-ion cells.
The United States Patent Office has granted NTS Works Inc a patent on the technology; additional patents are pending.
“In my experience with electric vehicles, the battery never lasts as long as the rest of the vehicle. People want to drive EVs without having to be careful about accelerating or hill climbing –and that kind of driving kills the lifespan of the battery,” said Neal Saiki, founder of NTS Works.
Several other companies are in negotiations to license the technology which may make it available in products ranging in size from portable power supplies to electric buses. NTS Works is showcasing the technology in a lightweight electric bicycle called the Fat Free.
The Battery Technology
- At the core of the Lifetime Rebuildable Battery are high energy density lithium-ion cells that are made to an industry standard size, similar to the ones used in Tesla electric cars, and can be scaled up to power vehicles as big as a bus. NTS Works is in partnership with Samsung Electronics for the supply of these new, small and powerful cells. These new cells exceed all safety standards by a large margin.
- Having a standard-sized cell that is easy to replace also means that when newer higher energy cells come out, it’s easy to upgrade. New cells come out approximately every 18 months.
- The Lifetime Rebuildable Battery technology also helps to cool the battery. Even moderate heat levels cause up to a 50% reduction in battery lifespan. Copper heat conductors built into the Lifetime Rebuildable Battery technology help to cool the lithium-ion cells which helps to ensure a full lifespan.
- Large capacity EV battery packs are prone to having one or two bad cells. The Lifetime Rebuildable Battery technology facilitates thermal monitoring of every cell in the pack. Any bad cell can be identified and replaced in minutes. All of this monitoring and interconnection is done without any loose wires in the pack. It’s all built into the walls so that everything is rugged and easy to assemble. The basic architecture was developed for cars and is made to withstand crash testing.
- In a typical EV battery pack, cells are only 1/4-1/2 of the finished cost. Items such as: crash protection, vibration isolation, thermal cooling and support electronics all add to the finished cost. This technology combines all these elements into the case structure and greatly reduces cost. Once old cells are removed, they are still useable for less demanding applications such as solar power systems or backup power supplies. There is still years-worth of life left even after cells are used in an electric vehicle.
Neal Saiki is the founder of NTS Works. He combines his electric vehicle experience as the founder of Zero Motorcycles, the leading electric motorcycle company, with his extensive bicycle industry experience as product designer of bicycles from companies such as Haro, Mountain Cycle and Santa Cruz Bicycles.