Scientists work around the clock to solve this problem, and battery startups are already trying to advance development into a future EV battery. Lyten is among the latter, claiming it has a solution to make the Li-S battery cells a reality. The company has devised a three-dimensional graphene-based Li-S architecture called Sulfur Caging that effectively arrests poly-sulfide shuttle. In 2021, Lyten said its LytCell prototype resisted more than 1,400 cycles under DoD (US Department of Defense) test protocols. The development is far from over, though, as Lyten targets the end of the decade for the commercial launch of its batteries.
To get there, it needs money, and luckily there's a major carmaker willing to invest in its technology. That carmaker is Stellantis, which has just announced that Stellantis Ventures, the group's tech-focused venture capital fund, would have a "significant" role in Lyten's current funding round. The two companies have not announced the financial details of the deal, but Stellantis said it wanted a technology "that will be deployable within the Dare Forward 2030 goals." By then, the carmaker intends to sell more than 5 million EVs globally, with 100% of European sales and 50% in the US being fully electric.
Two years ago, Lyten claimed that their batteries would hold three times the energy density of normal ternary cells. Still, when announcing the partnership with Stellantis, Lyten only credited its cells with twice the energy density of current Li-ion batteries. The first batteries from a pilot plant in San Jose, California, could start testing by the end of this year.
Stellantis and Lyten emphasized that Li-S batteries' higher energy density allows EVs to use smaller, lighter, and cheaper battery packs. Stellantis also said the new cells could coexist with other battery chemistries, depending on applications. Lyten's cells don't use nickel, cobalt, or manganese and will have a much smaller carbon footprint than ternary cells.
Lyten also described its 3D graphene as a supermaterial. Typically, graphene is a single-cell two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms. Because of this, it isn't easy to manufacture cost-effectively and doesn't combine well with other materials. Three-dimensional graphene solves some of these problems, allowing it to be twisted and crumpled into different shapes. This increases the reaction surface "by orders of magnitude," which explains its impressive properties.