We call them lithium-ion batteries, but there is actually very little of the element lithium inside the batteries that power laptops, cell phones, electric vehicles (EVs), and power grids. Less than 2% by weight of a lithium-ion battery comes from the lithium, which is in an ionic non-metallic form.
In fact, lithium-ion batteries are made up of a complex arrangement of highly refined materials. Each plays an important role in the energy storage capacity, performance, and safety of a lithium-ion battery pack. Using Volkswagen data on the percentage of various materials by weight, let’s look pull apart a typical commercial NMC (nickel-manganese-cobalt) lithium-ion battery and see what we find.
Kevin Clemens is a Senior Editor with Battery Technology.