Three brothers named Kreisel in the Austrian town of Freistadt say they have done something the world’s top battery researchers have been unable to do — build a better battery. The heart of their discovery is a lithium ion battery that weighs close to half what the best batteries weigh today. For instance, the battery in a Tesla Model S weighs 16 lbs per kWh. By comparison, the Kreisel battery weighs just 9 lbs per kWh. The brothers have converted a Porsche 911 to electric power. The finished car, complete with battery, weighs just 120 lbs more than the stock car with its internal combustion engine.
Car companies are taking notice. Volkswagen has come to town to learn more about what the brothers are up to. It has placed an order for an e-Golf with the Kreisel lithium ion battery installed, which it will use to for test purposes. “The whole world is currently knocking on our door,” one of the brothers tells German newspaper Der Spiegel.
At this point, we need to take a step back. Battery breakthroughs are reported all the time. Most of them turn out to be vaporware. Several large battery companies with lofty promises of stunning new technology have gone bankrupt. A reader could be forgiven a certain amount of skepticism that 3 brothers in Austria do what so many others have not.
What is it about the Kreisel battery that is so revolutionary? For one, it is put together differently. In a traditional lithium ion battery, the individual cells are welded together. The brothers have devised a patented process that uses lasers to bond the cells together. That results in less heating of the individual cells, which promotes longer than normal battery life.
Second, the brothers have devised a new heating and cooling system to maintain temperature stability within the battery pack. They call it active thermal management. “Kreisel Electric battery cells feature a patented casing that is constantly flushed with liquid. This means that combined with a heat pump, the battery can be heated or cooled very efficiently. This significantly increases range and service life as a result,” the company website says.
The company is building a battery factory in town. It will be able to build batteries for about 8,000 cars a year, although output could be doubled or tripled if the demand is there. The brothers are thinking small for the time being but they may have invented the proverbial better mouse trap. If so, the world will very shortly beat a path to their door.