■ SK On exhibits ‘SF Battery’ at CES 2023, reveals the R&D process ahead of its time
■ Overcame the limitations of fast charging without shortening battery life, won The first Best of Innovation Awards in the industry
In 2018, SK On was requested from a global automaker to make a battery that gets fully charged in 18 minutes. ’80% charge in 18 minutes’ was an unprecedented goal throughout the world. In those days, automakers’ fast charging standard was about 30 minutes, and it even went up to 50 minutes with mass-produced cells. However, SK On accepted this request without hesitation. SK On had already organized a Task Force (TF) Team two years ago and was developing its own fast charging technology.
While SK On exhibits its Super Fast Battery (SF Battery) at CES 2023, the world’s largest electronics/IT exhibition, on January 5 (local time), Head of SK On Cell Development Office 2 Park Ki-soo introduced SF Battery’s development process as follows. “The finality of an electric vehicle depends on how further and faster it could go, and how quickly it can be recharged. Based on this insight, SK On had already embarked on the technology development, meeting the needs of global automakers.”
The key to fast charging technology lies in how to lower the resistance of the anode when lithium is inserted during charging. SK On has developed a new material that can increase the charging speed along with a special coating method that dramatically lowers resistance. A new process was also applied to minimize the use of styrene butadiene rubbers (SBR) adhesive that causes cell resistance in coating.
Thanks to the development of this technology, SK On and the automaker created a consultative group for performance and safety verification to detect any unexpected problems when battery is installed in a vehicle. A SK On official said, “We were able to solve major problems through closer cooperation between two companies,” and “the driving force behind the joint research was trust in each other.”
The success of the SF Battery is even more meaningful in that SK On has overcome fast charging’s fundamental limitation: shortened battery life. For example, if an EV’s quality assurance standard covers 1,000 charge cycles, the warranty for fast charging is generally limited to 300 cycles (700 cycles for normal charging). However, SF Battery can run all 1,000 cycles with fast charging alone,, securing both ‘fast charging’ and ‘battery life’.
This was a result obtained after running multiple performance tests, almost as three times as usual. This accomplishment was achieved in three years since SK On organized its own TF team, and one year since SK On started the joint research with the automaker that requested the development of SF Battery . When the EV equipped with a SF Battery was released in 2021, the market reaction was explosive. The annual sales target was almost achieved on the first day of the pre-contract in February. The EV swept major awards, such as “World Car of the Year” in “2022 World Car Awards.”
SF Battery once again surprised the world with another unrivaled record. At CES 2023, the world’s largest technology fair, SFB was the first in the domestic industry to receive the “Best of Innovation Awards” (“Embedded Technologies” category).
At CES 2023, SF Battery was indeed a big hit that impressed and received a plethora of praise from visitors.
Mutazu Shikukani, who works for an American auto parts company, said, “It is very surprising that it can be charged up to 80 percent in 18 minutes. SK On seems to have developed an amazing technology.”
Ariel Wagner, a Las Vegas resident, said, “The battery has a sleek design with an astonishing charging speed. If I were to buy an electric car, I would like to buy a car equipped with a battery like this.”
SK On is now preparing for another innovation with the goal of ’10-minute fast charging’. A SK On official said, “It is a pleasure to win the CES Best Innovation Award for the first time in the industry, but now we feel more burdened having to develop a battery with a better performance.” He added, “We will strive to keep up with the global expectation towards K-Battery through constant innovation.”
(Photo 1) SK On’s SF Battery, which won the ‘Best Innovation Award’ at CES 2023
(Photo 2) Visitors are taking pictures of SK On’s SF battery, which won the “Best Innovation Award” at CES 2023, in Las Vegas, on January 5 (local time).
(Photo 3) A visitor is watching SK On’s SF battery, which won the “Best Innovation Award” at CES 2023, in Las Vegas, on January 5 (local time).