Experts say that electric cars will become more common in 2018 and 2019. Several countries are taking the lead on reducing emissions and improving energy efficiency. The U.K. and France have both planned to phase out internal combustion vehicles on their roadways. Thankfully, electric car battery research has improved both the lifespan and cost of this vital component.
Recent Electric Car Battery Research Results
With pressure from a number of governments to get carbon-emitting vehicles off the road, researchers have stepped up and begun experimenting with improving the technology. There are several issues that have kept electric cars in the background. One of them is lack of range, and the other is affordability. With improved performance, an increase in demand will drop prices. This will result in a faster conversion to all-electric.
Better Batteries, Better Range
A team of researchers has increased electric car range by heavily layering oxide positive electrodes with lithium. This, theoretically, will power electric car batteries with 30 to 50 percent more power between charges. Unfortunately, this also speeds battery degradation. But researchers from Stanford have identified the mechanism that causes this and limits battery life so it can be overcome.
Another research team from the University of Waterloo announced in December 2017 that a chemical compound of phosphorus and sulfur elements allowed them to use lithium negative electrodes. As a result, it enabled them to create “cheap, safe, long-lasting batteries that give people much more range in their electric vehicles.”
Faster Charging Speeds
Electric car battery research by Toyota revolves around adapting solid-state batteries for electric cars. Researchers were able to create prototypes which “provided high power density, and ultra-fast charging.”
Auto manufacturer Fisker promised to deliver solid-state batteries in its new EMotion electric vehicle. In June 2017, they were still having trouble delivering. Solid-state batteries provide enough range for most consumers. The ability to adapt the technology to electric vehicles would be a game changer. In November 2017, Fisker announced that they’d made headway with the new solid-state batteries. Using “novel materials and manufacturing processes,” the manufacturer claimed that the new batteries charged in under one minute and were not sensitive to cold temperatures.
New Funding for Electric Car Battery Research
The Faraday Institution in the U.K. announced in January 2018 that they’re launching an initiative to improve electric car battery performance. In a project funded by another £42 million, in addition to the £246 million granted last October, they’re poised to become the go-to nation for electric car battery technology. Their goal is to increase battery life, to produce a materials modeling program, and to perfect solid-state technology for electric car applications.
Electric Vehicle Ranges
The major obstacle to switching to electric vehicles is range, particularly in the USA. Electric vehicle ranges vary. Starting with the Norwegian Kewet “Buddy” at a range of 40 miles to the respectable 335 miles for the Tesla Model S, driving range on a single charge is an issue.
The average range seems to be about 100 miles. This may enough for the average daily commute and shopping trips. However, many drivers need a longer range for business or road trips.
Furthermore, the infrastructure for providing charging stations in the U.S. isn’t adequate for a complete changeover to electric at that range. Although vehicle range has improved by 56 percent over the last six years, thanks to electric car battery research, there’s still a lot of pressure to increase the range to match that of gasoline in diesel engines.
Finding an Electric Vehicle Battery Charger
— InternationalLithium (@ILCtsxv) January 31, 2018
The scarcity of electric charging stations will likely keep electric vehicles from dominating the U.S. market for years to come. If you’re on a planned route, with known charging locations, you’re in luck. But there isn’t much room for error if you want to do some exploring.
The classic American road trip vacation is also out of the question. Low-speed charging stations are also inconvenient for a quick stop. Stations along highways need more fast chargers for long-distance travel. And users need better access tools.
There are several companies running charging stations throughout the country, and you can find their charging stations on your phone apps. However, but you’ll need to check all three apps to find them all. And if you’re on the road without a cell phone signal, you’re out of luck. There’s also no standard for showing them on maps or highway signs, along with lodging, restaurants, and gas stations.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles as Interim Technology
Until electric car battery research has delivered a truly affordable 300-mile range, the best alternative may be the plug-in hybrid. This gives drivers the knowledge that they’ll pay 30 to 60 percent less for gas, while still producing fewer emissions than a standard gas vehicle. Furthermore, federal and state tax incentives may be available for your plug-in hybrid.
Featured Image CC by 0, by Joe Nomias via Pixabay