Hydro-Québec, Mercedes to work on next-gen lithium batteries

Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage. (Image courtesy of Hydro-Québec).

Canadian battery material specialist Hydro-Québec partnered with Mercedes-Benz AG to work on research and development activities aimed at improving the efficiency of the new generation of electric vehicles.

In a press release, the Canadian company and the German carmaker said that their experts will cooperate to test new materials under field conditions to accelerate the development cycle.

The joint research activities will be carried out at Hydro-Québec’s Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage in Canada and at the SCE France laboratory, a Hydro-Québec subsidiary.

“The battery is a key component of our electric vehicles. Mastering their chemistry is, therefore, a focal topic for Mercedes-Benz research and development”

Jochen Hermann, vice-president of development eDrive, Mercedes-Benz

The plan is to draw from Hydro-Québec’s know‑how and intellectual property portfolio connected to its development of the first-generation of solid-state batteries in the 1990s.

The focus on solid-state lithium metal batteries responds to their growing popularity linked to their high energy density, durability, and the fact that the technology is considered to be a safer alternative to regular lithium-ion batteries, as it does not use flammable liquid electrolytes.

“The battery is not an off-the-shelf product, but an integral part of the vehicle architecture. The intelligence of the battery lies in a highly complex overall system, which defines the characteristics of the vehicle with respect to performance, range and charging times,” the media brief states. “As an integral and important element of Mercedes-Benz’s electrification strategy, competencies for the technological evaluation of materials and cells as well as research and development activities are consistently expanded. These include the continuous optimization of the current generation of Li-ion battery systems, the further development of cells bought on the world market and research of the next-generation battery systems.”

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