Super-dense battery twice as efficient
A California-based battery company has come up with a technological breakthrough that could cut the cost of electric vehicle batteries in half and make EVs affordable. And they're being backed by General Motors.
Two of the biggest obstacles facing modern electric cars are their prices and their range: they still cost quite a bit more than a similarly sized car, but can't go quite as far as one.
Blame it on the batteries. The lithium-ion batteries that have found favour in modern EVs use technology that basically dates back to the '80s, reports Yahoo Autos.
They're expensive and inefficient, and they're what's holding EVs back.
But California's Envia Systems plans to change that with a new high-density lithium-ion battery. Tests conducted at a U.S. Navy research facility show their batteries have an energy density of about 400 Watt-hours per kilogram.
That's "nearly 10 times as much energy by weight as the batteries in a Toyota Prius," reports Yahoo. It's around three times as energy-dense as most current EV batteries, and twice as efficient as any sort of lithium-ion battery on the market.
According to GreenCarReports, the batteries use a "Silicon Carbide (Si-C) nanocomposite anode, High Capacity Manganese Rich (HCMR) nanocoated cathode, and patented Envia High Voltage (EHV) electrolyte." We have no idea what that means either.
Since the new batteries can pack so much energy in such a small space, the range of an electric vehicle can be extended tremendously. The Envia technology also costs about half as much to manufacture as other lithium-ion batteries, and could bring EV prices within range of their gas-powered counterparts.
The technology is production-ready, says Envia, and could be on roads within three years. You may expect to see them in future GM vehicles, since they're one of Envia's biggest financial backers (them and the U.S. government).
GM invested $7 million in the firm last year. And it looks like it might have just paid off.
(Yahoo Autos and GreenCarReports)