Stellantis starts testing lithium-sulfur batteries from Lyten

Stellantis has received testing samples from Lyten, a start-up in lithium-sulfur battery technology that it started investing in last year. It’s the first time a company has set up a production line for this type of chemistry. Lyten says it has also shipped samples to other major automotive OEMs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The distributed samples from Lyten are cells of its 6.5 Ah lithium-sulfur pouch batteries. The lithium-sulfur cells, known for holding over twice the energy density of traditional lithium-ion counterparts, are manufactured at Lyten’s semi-automated pilot facility in San Jose, California. This production line utilizes standard lithium-ion manufacturing equipment and practices, underscoring the scalable nature of this technology.

A long way from commercialization

“This milestone is the result of years of dedicated work and innovation from the Lyten team, and we are just at the start of further expanding the capabilities of our lithium-sulfur battery cells”, commented Lyten CEO Dan Cook. His company is also designing its first giga-scale facility to bring commercial scale to the innovative battery packs. These are then C-samples. The A-samples, shipped for testing, are still a long throw from mass production. But it’s crucial as it starts the chain of events, which must lead to vehicle integration. Lyten now relies on customer feedback to proceed or make adjustments.

Lithium-sulfur batteries form an interesting alternative to lithium-ion batteries through higher energy density (twice as much compared to lithium-ion), lighter weight, and cost-effectiveness, using locally sourced materials. The latter is of great importance as it implies that the USA and Europe can manufacture these batteries independently from China. Unlike conventional batteries, Lyten’s products do not rely on heavy metals such as nickel, cobalt, or manganese, which are often criticized for their environmental and ethical concerns.

“Impressed by the potential”

More specifically, Lyten has revolutionized the use of graphene—typically a material associated with pencil leads and viewed as mechanically weak—by developing a novel method that involves stacking layers of graphene and binding them with a special gel to form a sturdy, hexagonal 3D pattern. This innovative structure enhances mechanical properties and significantly reduces the carbon footprint of battery production.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares praised the solution: “We were impressed by the potential of this technology to drive clean, safe, and affordable mobility.” The latter proves to be the missing link to bring electric mobility to the masses and boost adoption to the required levels for commercial viability.

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