Well, this is an exciting bit of news for green drivers. Envia Systems has come up with a new battery technology that could give a $US20,000 electric car a range of 480km to a charge. Yes, please?
The General Motors-backed Envia Systems has come up with a new process that creates a battery with an energy density of 400 watt-hours per kilogram. To put that in perspective, the lithium cells found in most electric cars today only pack about 100-150Wh/kg. Even the batteries on Tesla's forthcoming Model S only pack in around 240Wh/kg. In terms of cost, when it was first produced, the Nissan Leaf's battery cost around $US375 per kilowatt-hour. The Envia battery is projected to cost just $US125 per kilowatt-hour.
The new magic comes from combining a "High Capacity Manganese Rich (HCMR)" cathode and a silicon-carbon nanocomposite anode, and then passing the lithium ions though a new, secret electrolyte formula (Powerade? Probably Powerade) that allows for increased voltage.
All of this isn't just lofty PR claims; they have already been independently tested by the Electrochemical Power Systems Department at the Naval Surface Warfare centre. So that's the good news. The bad news: they aren't likely to be commercialised and available to Terry T. Public until 2015. I know, I know, I want it now, too. But at least these sorts of breakthroughs are being made. The high-cost and low capacity of batteries is one of the major impediments to adoption of electric cars. The idea that these problems will be greatly reduced within the next few years is a very, very good thing. [AutoblogGreen via Engadget]