Inside the technology that will change how we power our vehicles
We’ve seen amazing innovations in electric vehicles over the past few years. We can now see that electric vehicles are on the brink of becoming the dominant mode of transport, and possibly even outselling internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles within a decade.
But, there’s one thing holding electric vehicles back from widespread adoption: lack of charging infrastructure, which makes it difficult to fuel up your vehicle with electricity when you need to. Luckily,
significant advancements in battery technology are on the horizon that will change everything by making charging stations ubiquitous, allowing you to recharge your car almost anywhere, anytime.
How did we get here?
The first electric vehicle was invented in 1834 by a French scientist named Gaston Plante.
The contraption was made out of wood and used a lead-acid battery—an early type of rechargeable battery used to power devices such as lanterns and cars.
Since then, batteries have evolved so much that they’re on their way to being just as powerful (if not more) than fossil fuels.
The most important recent breakthrough has been lithium-ion technology, which is increasingly being adopted by car manufacturers.
While there are challenges with its widespread adoption (including safety concerns), it looks like these issues are almost resolved. We may soon see an all-electric Tesla lineup! But electric vehicle technology isn’t limited to engines; changes in battery types affect nearly every aspect of the vehicle, from shape to performance.
There are developments happening in car design too: Thanks to advances in autonomous driving technologies and sensors (and new software programs capable of communicating between them), next-generation electric vehicles could be lighter and safer than ever before.
What does the future hold for powering our vehicles? Elon Musk predicts that within 20 years, an electric vehicle will cost less than a gasoline-powered one, thanks to mass production of cheaper parts and advances in manufacturing efficiency.
Many analysts agree with him, predicting that fully electric cars could make up 50 percent of all vehicles on US roads by 2050!
On top of saving money and decreasing our dependence on oil, investing in fully electric vehicles is better for air quality. Fossil fuels produce CO2 as a byproduct, which can seep into our atmosphere and lead to global warming.
Electric vehicles are also quieter than internal combustion engines (meaning you’ll be able to sleep at night without worrying about car noise). Plus, there’s no denying it: Driving an EV just feels really cool!
What does it mean for your car?
Although it’s hard to say definitively at what point EVs will catch up with (or outpace) internal combustion engines, there are some milestones on the horizon.
GM says its Chevy Bolt EV—which was revealed to great fanfare at CES 2016—will be able to go 238 miles on a single charge when it hits showrooms later in 2016.
By comparison, Tesla’s Model S has a similar range of about 215 miles—but at a price tag of $70,000 or more. In other words, EVs aren’t quite ready for mass market adoption just yet; but they’re getting closer every day.
Now is a good time to start looking into your options and making sure you have access to charging stations so you can hop back on track if your battery life runs out mid-trip.
Now is also a good time to think seriously about moving from oil-based fuels to renewable sources like solar energy. If you don’t already own an electric car and live in a state where fracking isn’t permitted, then chances are high you probably still consume fossil fuels daily by way of fuel for heating or burning gas for electricity generation. According to Forbes contributor Benjamin Kallo, If all cars used today were powered by lithium ion batteries and had 300-mile ranges… [that] would mean 1 million gigawatt hours (GWh) less electricity demand per year — equivalent to 100 large coal plants.
What’s The Current State Of Batteries?: Right now, many of us use rechargeable lithium ion batteries—the same type powering most cordless drills and even cell phones these days. But they aren’t yet as cheap or easy to produce as oil-based fuels like gasoline, meaning EV adoption isn’t quite at a point where electric cars are a realistic alternative to conventional models. But things are changing quickly; in 2015 alone, EVs made up two percent of all U.S. auto sales. And while worldwide demand is still small (about one million units per year), it is growing quickly—not just because of environmental concerns but also because battery manufacturing costs have dropped an average of 50 percent in recent years, making them more affordable than ever before.
Moreover, manufacturers are constantly working on new ways to boost performance and efficiency by improving both battery management systems and materials used for electrodes.
Additionally, if you’re environmentally conscious about your car usage then you may be aware of hybrid cars (like Toyota Prius) which combine internal combustion engines with electrical motors for improved fuel economy.
How do batteries work?
From a scientific perspective, batteries are rather simple. In essence, they’re just a system of two conductors—which can be made from different materials (more on those later)—separated by an electrolyte solution.
During discharging or charging, these three components allow electrons to flow between one conductor and another, or even both conductors at once. But as electric vehicle batteries become more important in society, it’s crucial to understand them well enough to judge their viability. How do they work?
What makes one better than another? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about modern battery technologies… Write a business plan: Before you start flinging money around with potential partners, investors, etc., it pays to have your finances in order. Creating a business plan gives you some time for research into costs for all aspects of your company, thus giving yourself something concrete to bring along during meetings.
Your plan may look drastically different six months after creation—and there’s nothing wrong with revising plans when you learn new information! It’s simply good business sense. Charge/discharge cycles:
The fundamental unit of energy storage is called a kilowatt-hour, where electricity is measured in units equivalent to using 1 kW (1,000 watts) continuously for 1 hour. An average car uses a little less than 10 kWh per 100 miles; to travel 300 miles, then, would require 30 kWh worth of charge. To get up to full capacity (about 80 percent), most electric cars take 6–8 hours via standard outlets.
There’s room for improvement here, but lithium-ion batteries continue to improve in terms of specific capacity (amount of charge stored per pound). Costs: Electric vehicle cost estimates seem to get higher every year—for now. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, EVs should hit cost parity with gasoline powered vehicles around 2020 or 2025. A report from McKinsey & Company predicts that EVs could comprise 35 percent of total light duty sales by 2030 and 45 percent by 2040 if oil prices rise above $70 per barrel. If oil prices stay below $70, however, BEV adoption might only reach 5–20 percent of total light duty sales. UBS AG predicts mass adoption around 2030 if oil prices rise to $90+ per barrel, or 2035–2040 under a lower-oil scenario. (Note: In each case, mass refers to 30+% of global market share.) Costs also depend on which type of battery you’re using. Lithium-ion batteries dominate today’s market, though coming years promise advances in new battery types (lithium-air, sodium-ion, solid state). Type of battery: Lithium-ion is currently by far and away your best bet for electric vehicle batteries. They boast a high energy density (energy stored per unit volume), which translates to relatively low weight in vehicles. They also come with various chemistries that impact performance characteristics—your phone has a lithium-ion battery, for example. Another plus? Lithium is cheaper than, say, lithium-sulfur. Specific energy: This measures how much energy a battery can store for its mass (volume). Wh/kg or Wh/L is a popular metric in lithium-ion batteries. Specific energy of EV batteries ranges from 70–200Wh/kg. As a rule of thumb, your vehicle will travel about 50 miles for every 25 kWh of battery capacity. Specific power: This metric rates how fast a battery can be charged or discharged. It’s not quite as simple as increasing power (watts per kg), since efficiency decreases when you push things too hard. Ideal specific power for electric vehicles is 2.5–3 times that of lead-acid batteries (needed for, say, a UPS truck). Specific power of EV batteries can range from 0.5–6W/kg—roughly double that of a lead-acid battery. Lithium-ion cells also typically fare better in extreme temperatures than other battery systems, so keep that in mind if you’re traveling to colder areas.
Why are Lithium-Ion batteries better than previous ones?
Lithium-ion batteries have been around for over 20 years, but only in recent years has their use become widespread. Lithium-ion is a battery type typically used in consumer electronics such as laptops and phones, with smaller versions also being used to power devices like watches. Up until now these batteries were mainly used for these specific applications, but with advances in automotive engineering, lithium-ion batteries are on their way to powering electric cars around the world. Lithium-ion offers numerous advantages when compared to previous types of batteries. These include less weight, increased safety and efficiency. Today we’ll be looking at why lithium-ion batteries offer so many benefits when compared to older battery technologies; what exactly makes them safer than other options? How does it differ from previous generations of lithium ion? We’ll look at all of these questions today, so read on if you want more information! … A key benefit of lithium-ion batteries is that they’re much lighter than previously used varieties. In fact, they’re three times lighter than lead acid equivalents, which makes them ideal for things like trains or trucks where saving every ounce can make a significant difference… Another major advantage of lithium-ion is how safe they are to manufacture and dispose of. This means your car’s Li-Ion batteries won’t need special care during transport or disposal unlike earlier generation alternatives… Finally, lithium-ion systems boast very low self discharge rates, meaning your car will still have a healthy amount of charge even after sitting unused for months. Most other systems suffer severe losses through loss of charge while unplugged – not Li-Ion! … Check out some of my other articles on clean energy: How Solar Power Works The Pros & Cons Of Solar Energy Investing In Distributed Solar Projects Five Tips For Maximizing Your Solar Panels’ Output Three Reasons To Consider Going Off-Grid Electric Car Batteries: Storage Capacity & System Design Get more information about EVs here: Electric Cars FAQ What Are The Best Electric Cars On The Market Today? EV Charging Station Guide Part 1 EV Charging Station Guide Part 2 EV Charging Station Guide Part 3 […] I invite you to follow me on social media for similar news about renewable energies. I try to keep my posts clear and simple without compromising quality content. If you enjoyed reading today’s post please comment below! Leave a message so I know what parts resonated most with you and share it via social media using one of the buttons below — thanks for reading!
Where are they made?
Batteries can be made in a range of different places and processes.
Some batteries have their cathodes and anodes constructed separately, then assembled into a finished battery, which is more common with lithium-ion.
Others are put together using materials from each end in powder form and then pressed into shape. Both approaches have positives and negatives to them; lithium-ion can be assembled more quickly than most other types of batteries, but it’s less efficient at storing energy than others. The manufacturing process doesn’t have much impact on cost or weight, however; even high-capacity Tesla batteries only weigh around 100 kg. That’s about as heavy as a sidecar motorcycle! As for who makes electric vehicle batteries, LG Chem makes some of Tesla’s cells (but not all), while nearly all Model 3 cells come from Panasonic. Other companies also make EVs like Nissan or Ford, but they generally just sell cells sourced directly from Panasonic (or an LG subsidiary) because they don’t make enough cars to need economies of scale. Tesla uses 2170 cells rather than traditional 18650 ones to maximize energy density. For reference, 18650 refers to a cylindrical cell size used in many electronic devices—the same batteries used in your laptop and smartphones—and 2170 is slightly taller and wider. This allows for larger battery packs in a given area without sacrificing range (more on that later). Lithium-ion costs about $160 per kWh when ordered by volume. Automakers often buy batteries in bulk, so you should expect costs to drop significantly if you order lots of cells up front: mass production works like magic. But despite improvements over time, lithium still has several major drawbacks that prevent its widespread use outside of small electronics. Its specific capacity is lower than other elements commonly used in batteries (lithium isn’t very dense); whereas lead acid and nickel cadmium reach 90 percent capacity after eight cycles, lithium needs 80 cycles before reaching peak performance. Lead acid lasts twice as long again. And since there are no large-scale recycling facilities for lithium ion , manufacturers have been reluctant to improve performance too aggressively lest they find themselves with obsolete products or leftover parts sitting around their warehouses. One of lithium’s few advantages is low volatility and a lack of flammability. It won’t burst into flames, so lithium batteries can help automakers meet ever-stricter safety standards. Safety may be why we see lithium in every phone, tablet, laptop, camera, and smartwatch…but hardly any large appliance. Still, batteries aren’t going anywhere soon.
How can I get one?
Batteries are an important part of all of our lives, and can be found in everything from laptops to cars.
With more and more countries looking to transition away from fossil fuels, clean-energy advocates have been working towards developing better and safer batteries for a future free of harmful greenhouse gases.
Recently, advancements in battery technologies have allowed manufacturers to experiment with new ways of powering their vehicles. Here’s what you need to know about these revolutionary (and safe) new battery technologies Thank you, Butch!
In order to get them into one of those prestigious schools they’ve always wanted so badly, you want them both to take as many classes as possible over the summer before freshman year—to beef up transcripts, boost grades…
whatever it takes. What do you do? Why not hire someone to tutor them? Someone who knows what he or she is doing. What kind of tutor would fit that description? One that specializes in math and science, of course! And to show your kids you mean business, don’t stop at just hiring one tutor; make sure to interview multiple candidates. Ask plenty of questions; find out what makes them tick—what motivates them, why they became teachers (if they didn’t start out that way). Learn about their families; find out where they went on vacation last year. If there’s anything else you can think of, ask it. There are no stupid questions when it comes to putting your children on track for success; once you realize that, finding a good tutor becomes pretty easy . . .