In a win-win-win for electric car owners, developers are working on batteries that cost less, last longer and charge faster.
Electric vehicles continue to be rather pricey for which their batteries are largely to blame. Encouragingly, though, in a win-win-win for electric car owners and prospective owners, developers are working on batteries that cost less, last longer and charge faster.
A case in point is 24M, an American startup, that says it is developing breakthrough technology that is set to make car batteries cheaper while keeping them just as efficient as their more expensive counterparts. The company is working on semi-solid batteries in which inactive materials are disposed of in the electrodes.
By doing so, 24M says it can eliminate several expensive and time-consuming steps in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Currently the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries entails a process that involves a solvent depositing an active ingredient onto the positive- and negative-charged sides of a battery. The process requires mixing, coating, drying and recovering the solvent before filling the battery with an electrolyte.
24M has developed a way whereby the electrolyte can be used as the solvent to deposit the active ingredient onto both sides of a battery. This means that there is no more need for coating, drying, or recovering the solvent, which makes the process a lot faster, cheaper and less costly.
Specifically, batteries produced by the company, which has been finetuning its production process since 2010, are 20% cheaper when it comes to material costs and boast a 50% improvement in capital efficiency. As a bonus, its batteries have a higher energy density.
24M is now working on scaling up the process to mass production levels. If all goes well, its cheaper batteries could soon start arriving on the market. “It can be very transformative if we get the chemistry right,” says the company’s CEO. Richard M. Feldt. “We’ve demonstrated the science actually works.”
Meanwhile, German automakers are developing a technology that will allow car batteries to charge much faster, thereby sparing their owners prolonged waiting times.
Porsche has just unveiled an electric vehicle prototype that set a charging record of 450 kilowatts, more than three times the speed of Tesla’s superchargers. The car’s battery picks up enough juice in just three minutes to last it for 100km. Meanwhile, BMW’s prototype i3 model has clocked in at 350kW, which is fast enough to charge the car’s battery from 10% to 80% in just 15 minutes.
“The system works at up to 900 volts and 500 amps — multiply those, and you get 450,000 watts or 450kW,” an industry publication notes. “That’s about 25,000 times faster than your average smartphone fast charger.”