Samsung SDI is reportedly working to adapt an eclectic vehicle battery technology to substantially improve the battery life of future smartphones and other mobile devices. Just like smartphones, electric vehicles also run on lithium batteries. However, there are efforts to experiment with other materials, like manganese, due to the recent spike in lithium prices.
Meanwhile, despite using the same underlying material, EV batteries use a different production method compared to smartphone batteries, which makes them denser and helps them pack more capacity without taking up additional space. However, the latest report suggests that Samsung is looking to erase that discrepancy and use the same EV tech in smartphone batteries to bring better battery life to smartphones.
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Samsung SDI is reportedly looking to improve the battery life of smartphones by using a production technique it currently uses to make its fifth-generation EV batteries. According to South Korean publication TheElec, the process involves stacking the battery’s main components in layers instead of using a so-called ‘jelly roll’ method. The latter approach is more popular in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries for consumer electronics, but it has its drawbacks. When using this method, batteries cannot be packed too tightly to keep room for the natural swelling that occurs when a battery is charged and discharged repeatedly. However, the stacking method solves this problem and helps increase battery density by up to 10 percent. The increased density allows manufacturers to pack more capacity within the same volume or reduce the volume without reducing battery capacity.
Will Future iPhones Use The New Batteries?
Samsung is reportedly making the requisite changes to its production lines at its Cheonan plant in South Korea to manufacture small batteries with the new stacking method. It has also already built a pilot line for testing the technology at its factory in Tianjin, China. However, the stacking method requires additional equipment, so production can only start after that is installed at the facilities. The report further claims that the Chinese production line will be strictly used for testing, while commercial production for the new batteries will only happen in South Korea.
Interestingly, the report from TheElec speculates that with the new technology in place, Samsung SDI could be betting on winning orders from Apple. According to the report, Apple currently uses a multi-cell battery structure for the iPhone, connecting multiple small battery cells to make an L-shaped higher-capacity battery. However, the new technology will allow the company to either include larger-capacity batteries or make thinner and more lightweight phones while keeping the battery capacity constant. It will be interesting to see if Apple will eventually use these new batteries in future iPhones, but Samsung’s new battery technology is good news for smartphone users everywhere.