Better Materials lead to Better Batteries
This recent blog post by Ian McClenny at Navigant Research discusses some of the recent developments in battery technology.
The post discusses some of the history of batteries. How Lithium Ion battery technology made the 275 mile range EV a reality and 80 mile range EVs a price effective alternative. Prior to that the weight of lead acid batteries limited range to 40-50 miles. NiCad batteries reduced the weight restriction, but had a limited number of recharges. Lithium ion (Li) battery technology increased the number of recharges and further reduced battery weight.
New developments in solid state technology for Li batteries promise even more energy per pound, more charges per battery, and faster recharge times from better temperature regulation. This will result in long EV range and reduced wait times for charges. The technology will also be useful for the grid by providing energy storage, load leveling, frequency regulation, and voltage support at the utility scale.
Not mentioned in the post are some of the alternate battery chemistries, such as zinc-air or aluminum-air batteries. Here’s a link to a recent article regarding zinc-air batteries. The potential of zinc-air batteries exceeds even the solid state Li technology.