New EV batteries may eliminate the greatest obstacle standing between drivers and electric vehicles; range anxiety. They promise to deliver a staggering 600 miles of charge.
The Range-Anxiety Conundrum
The future of electric vehicles largely lies the capabilities of EV batteries. Whilst the cars are often cheaper to run, quieter and significantly less polluting, concerns about their utility has prevented mass-adoption. So-called ‘range anxiety’ is the fear that an electric vehicle will be unable to reach its destination without running out of charge. This is a problem made worse by the fact that charging infrastructure is insufficient in many countries. Already automotive giants are pouring billions into developing new battery technologies in an attempt to effectively defeat range-anxiety. A small Swiss start-up, however, may have beaten them to the finish line.
The start-up, Innolith, says it’s produced high-density, lithium-ion EV batteries capable of hugely increased range. They also claim they can improve vehicle lifespans. It claims the batteries are the world’s first 1,000 Wh/kg rechargeables. For comparison, Tesla’s batteries have an estimated 250 Wh/kg. It has plans to push that to 330 Wh/kg. The development is even more impressive when we consider that the US Department of Energy is currently funding research int the possibility of 500 Wh/kg EV batteries!
In an interview, Innolith’s Chairman Alan Greenshields told The Verge that the development represented a “big jump.” He said, “it’s basically, in rough numbers, four times the current state-of-the-art for lithium-ion… Roughly three times what is generally accepted as being the next improvement in lithium. And it’s two times the energy density target [that] organizations like the US Department of Energy have set. So this is a big deal.” What all this means is that electric vehicles could soon have a range of 600 miles, as opposed to the current high of 330 miles.
Companies have traditionally placed their trust in the potential of ‘solid-state’ EV batteries. These are thought to be capable of offering 500 miles of range. The majority of electric vehicles currently use ‘wet’ lithium batteries. These use liquid electrolytes in order to function. Solid-state batteries, conversely, use ‘dry’ and solid conductive materials.
Innolith is sticking with wet lithium batteries. The difference is they’ve replaced the organic solvent (which is highly combustible) with an inorganic equivalent that is more stable and less flammable. Greenshield has stated that it’s this increased stability that allows the batteries to hold more charge. He explained, “it gets rid of your fire risk, so, of course, there’s nothing to burn. And the second part is you’ve also got rid of the most reactive components in the system, which makes it easier to build a battery where you can pack in a lot of energy without the thing becoming unstable.”
From Theory To Production?
As it stands, Innolith’s claims are largely theoretical. A league of financial problems have haunted the project for years. But with a new research facility in Switzerland, there are now plans to move towards pilot production. If successful, this tiny start-up could go down in history as the body that put an end to range-anxiety and, just possibly, the combustion age (at least as far as automotives are concerned).
Here Are The Electrification Plans Of Europe’s Biggest Car Manufacturers: http://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/here-are-the-electrification-plans-of-europes-biggest-car-manufacturers/
The Best Electric Cars On The Market: https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/the-best-electric-cars-on-the-market/