Battery manufacturing for electric vehicles has come a long way since the first plug-in hybrid vehicles and EVs arrived on the scene. However, a Swiss watchmaker has taken steps to redefine the process even further.
Car Advice reports Swiss watchmaker Swatch has patented a new compound to drastically bring down the cost of batteries and save weight. The company has plans to eventually test the compound in batteries destined for EVs.
The watchmaker owns a 51 percent stake in Belenos Clean Power, a company dedicated to clean energy. Within the company sits a division focused on battery technology.
The compound itself is called vanadium and is being used to develop battery cells for watches currently. The compound skips on costly, rare raw materials, and in effect, makes the manufacturing process much less expensive.
The compound also does good things for charging times and weight reduction. According to the report, the battery pack destined for electric vehicles weighs a third less than the Panasonic-supplied unit in a Tesla Model S. It also charges twice as fast.
Swatch Group AG chief executive officer Nick Hayek said the Volkswagen diesel scandal helped accelerate development on the vanadium compound.
“I’m not happy about what happened with VW, but it is fueling the interest in us since diesel is not the alternative anymore,” Hayek said. “The car industry needs electro-mobility more than ever.”
As previously stated, the compound is being used for watch batteries first, but the company plans to include the technology in bikes and scooters before moving on to vehicular applications later in 2017.