Porsche Hopes a Startup Will Improve Winter EV Driving

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Key Takeaways

  • Porsche has invested in South 8 to improve EV winter performance.
  • Its batteries use liquified gas electrolytes to improve cold-weather charging.
  • The technology could also lower the cost of EVs.

Porsche has invested in battery startup South 8 Technologies to make winter EV driving more practical.

As TechCrunch explained, the newcomer’s liquified gas electrolyte, LiGas. won’t freeze until -148F (-100C), and preserves 75% of the energy capacity at -40F (-40C). Your Porsche could keep driving in winter conditions that would render other EVs unusable.

The technology will ideally reduce the cost of lithium-ion batteries by 30%, which could lead to either more affordable EVs or higher capacities without as much of a premium. It could also dramatically reduce production time by shrinking the period needed for the initial charge and discharge that helps optimize the battery.

There are some practical limitations. LiGas only works in cylindrical battery cells like those Rivian and Tesla use, and there are design changes that would require factories to change their tooling. The electrolyte is also a very strong greenhouse gas that would need to be safely contained and recycled.

Numerous other brands use prismatic or pouch cells and would have to rethink their battery designs and manufacturing.

If successful, though, the development could help Porsche and other automakers address some of the pain points of driving EVs in winter. Cold weather can slow charging or even make it impossible. Heat pumps can already mitigate range loss on the road, but this could make it more feasible to charge outdoors or otherwise treat an electric car like any other.