Varta introduces its new 21700 battery cell for electric cars

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Fully charged in six minutes, 80 percent in three minutes

Varta introduces its new 21700 battery cell for electric cars-21700

In mid-March it was announced that Varta will also be able to use battery cells for electric cars in the future wants to produce – because so far the German manufacturer has mainly produced batteries for electrical devices such as Bluetooth headphones and of course the well-known household batteries. Varta is now presenting its electric car cell in the 21700 format. It bears the name V4Drive (pronounced "We for drive").

The cylindrical design with a diameter of 21 millimeters and a length of 70 millimeters is one of the most frequently used formats. It is also used in Model 3, among other things. Compared to the 18650 form, which is also often used (which is built into the Model S), the volume is even larger, which is why little space is lost for passive material such as the wall of the cell and the like.

A special feature of the Varta cell is that the cell can be fully charged within six minutes. However, this only applies to a power version of the cell, according to Varta boss Herbert Schein in the video above. If a cell can be charged in six minutes, then maybe one day you could also have a whole battery Charge in the time you fill up a gasoline engine, the video suggests.

When fast charging in six minutes, the cell should only heat up a little, since it offers a particularly low internal resistance. The temperature of the cell should only rise to 34 degrees. This means that even faster charging is possible. The cell can be charged to 80 percent in three minutes.

Varta does not provide any information on the chemistry of the cell in the video. In the video you can read from the label on the cell that it is apparently supposed to generate 3.6 volts. This corresponds to the nominal voltage of a battery with LiCoO2 or Li2FePO4F cathode. But NMC cells (LiNixMnyCozO2) and NCA cells with aluminum (LiNixCoyAlzO2) also generate 3.6 volts. A lithium iron phosphate battery on the other hand produces only 3.3 volts.

The cell should also function well at low temperatures. Varta primarily envisions premium vehicles and sports cars as areas of application, as fast charging and fast energy delivery are important here. But even if a loaded 40-ton truck hits the brakes, a lot of energy has to be absorbed quickly – even over a megawatt. Varta can also imagine using it as a small additional battery for quick recuperation and boosting. This suggests that the cell is powerful, but also expensive.

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But the cell is not only intended for electric cars, but also for powerful cordless hammer drills and the like. Today’s power tools need about 30 minutes to charge, but the Varta cell should do it in half the time, says Varta manager Reiko Stutz in the video. This may give an indication of the charging time of the standard cell: 15 minutes.

Another demanding application is drones. Therefore, Varta wants to show the performance of its 21700 cell in demonstrations by drone pilot Andres Aguilera under the title emPower the Future.

From the end of 2021, Varta wants to manufacture the new cell on a pilot line. Varta did not provide any information about the time of series production. But the 21700 cell is apparently only "a first step" in the direction of electromobility. Cells with a larger format are the next step, according to Varta boss Schein. That could be a reference to Tesla’s 4680 cell which is even thicker and longer than the 21700 cell. The missing zero in 4680 shouldn’t bother you here, because the cells are also referred to with the number 46800.

This video shows what a 21700 cell from the Tesla Model 3 looks like inside:

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