Fast charging technologies have improved in leap and bounds over the past few years to the point we are seeing devices supporting upwards of 120W charging. Batteries, on the other hand, have not seen the same improvements. The development has been more gradual, meaning if a manufacturer has a power-hungry device, there is no choice but to make the battery bigger to increase its capacity.
Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has announced that they have made a breakthrough in their battery manufacturing technology that would allow for more capacity at the same volume. The company is dubbing the breakthrough ‘High-Silicon lithium battery technology’ and is expected to be rolled out for mass production in 2022.
Compared to the standard batteries that are already out in the wild, the new technology will reportedly feature three times more of the silicon content on the negative electrodes. This will then be coupled by a new packaging technology that will shrink the control circuits. The result is the capability of packing 10% more capacity in the same amount of volume.
10% more capacity does not sound like a lot, but to put this in perspective, a Xiaomi phone currently being sold with a battery rated at 5,000 mAh would get a boost of up to 5,500 mAh with no effect to any of its hardware whatsoever. Xiaomi also adds that the new high-silicon lithium batteries can increase the battery life by 100 minutes, meaning you are getting more capacity as well as better battery efficiency.
Further improvements to their battery technology include an inbuilt functionality that will allow for intelligent overnight charging. This refers to the intelligent delay that is brought to action to prevent a battery from hitting 100% when being left to charge overnight. Preventing the battery from reaching 100% reduces the amount of unnecessary wear on the battery. As a rule of thumb, the happy place of lithium-ion batteries is when they are ranging between 20 and 80 percent charged.
This intelligent delay will be directly installed to the battery controller together with other safety features like built in temperature management and other connected analytics. Graphene is also expected to be added in the manufacturing process, but Xiaomi fails to get into more details on how this will be done.
Other than increasing the battery capacity, Xiaomi might opt to install a smaller battery in order to maintain the current capacity of batteries they are producing. As a result, the space saved by doing this can then be used to reduce the size of the phone to cater to people who prefer smaller devices, or to go the opposite way and add better hardware in the vacated space, doing this will then guarantee better performance while retaining the same form factor.
Since mass production will start in 2022 as previously mentioned, we are unlikely to see any device having this technology until at least the second half of 2022. The upcoming Xiaomi 12 series are therefore unlikely to have this, but their successor, the 13 series if they retain the same naming scheme should have the technology incorporated in them.
Featured image: Xiaomi HyperCharge at work