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Samsung’s New Car Battery Works Like ‘Books on a Shelf’

Samsung SDI is using the Frankfurt Motor Show to showcase a new multifunction battery for electric vehicles that works on the same principle as placing books on a shelf.

Rather than offer a number of different battery pack models each with a set range, Samsung instead decided to go down the modular route. Their new battery pack can be fitted with up to 20 modules, offering a range of up to 700km. However, vehicle manufacturers can opt to place fewer modules within the pack, therefore reducing the range but offering greater flexibility in the design of the car around the battery.

As this one battery pack can offer multiple ranges, it also means lower costs for Samsung when it comes to manufacturing them, but also for vehicle manufacturers who can now place large orders for one type of battery pack and then install the appropriate number of modules to suit each car and range. They may even decide to let new car customers choose their own range and add the correct number of modules as each vehicle rolls off the production line.

Samsung also used the show to unveil two new type of battery cells and modules. The first is called "Low Height Cell" and features a height reduction of 20 percent over existing electric vehicle cells. By reducing the height, Samsung is allowing manufacturers to maximize the interior space of a vehicle.

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New modules based on the "21700" cylindrical battery design were also introduced. Each 21700 cell is 21mm in diameter and 70mm tall while offering 50 percent more capacity than the 18650 battery that are commonly used today. To put that capacity gain into perspective, the 18650 battery measures 18.6mm in diameter and is 65.2mm tall. So that's significantly more capacity for very little size increase.

We can expect to see 21700 batteries using in everything from electric cars and bikes through to electric tools and maybe even laptops just like the 18650 cells.

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