Would you buy an electric car if it could go a thousand miles without a recharge?
One of the biggest reasons people shy away from electric cars is their limited battery capacity and range. However, new electric car research shows that soon, their mileage could triple. This new technology would make the electric car a more viable option for many drivers.
Electric cars with longer battery life and range will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels faster. This breakthrough could overhaul the car industry, genuinely placing the electric car ahead of gas-powered cars in terms of convenience and efficiency.
What are the electric car components that limit mileage, and what are the breakthroughs that could triple that mileage? Let’s take a closer look.
Electric Car Components
The main component that differentiates the electric car from the gas-powered car is the battery.
Of course, traditional cars also have batteries. However, there are some significant differences between the two types of battery and how they power each car. Those differences give electric cars a much shorter range than traditional cars.
Electric Car Batteries
Gas-powered cars use a 12-volt battery that looks a lot like an electric car battery. However, the appearance is where the similarities stop. Electric car research has developed a battery that can efficiently power a car – at least over short distances.
When you start an electric car, the battery doesn’t need to give out much energy. However, while under power, the battery has to provide continuous electricity to keep it going. The batteries require recharging regularly, otherwise, the power to keep the car going will run out.
Because of this, electric car batteries are designed to have a higher reserve capacity than traditional car batteries.
How Electric Car Batteries Work
In a gas-powered car, the 12-volt battery contains six cells, each with about two volts of power. Internal combustion cars use lead-acid batteries because they have a good weight-to-power ratio and are inexpensive.
These batteries contain lead plates, which react with the acid in the battery to provide power. In traditional cars, the lead plates are thin, to help give a surge of power when the vehicle starts (the thin plates allow for fast-moving electrons, which give more power).
However, electric car research found that the same batteries wouldn’t be able to sustain power over a long enough period of time to power the car. Electric cars also use lead-acid batteries, but with thick lead plates, so there is no energy surge on startup. Instead, the power is given at a slow, steady pace, allowing the battery to power the car over a more extended period of time.
Batteries and Mileage
All batteries can hold only a certain amount of power.
Things like temperature, battery age, and other factors affect how much power a battery holds and how long it holds that power for. For example, electric cars are known to have less range during extremely cold weather. If you use heat or air conditioning in an electric car, this takes up battery power, decreasing your range.
Electric car ranges depend on both the kind of car and the conditions of its use. An older electric car that’s being driven somewhere cold with the heater on will have a pretty short range, for example.
What Electric Car Research Says
At first, many electric cars had a range of fewer than 100 miles, which made drivers concerned about having to recharge too often to avoid losing battery power – or becoming stranded. However, new electric car research has allowed the production of cars with ranges of 100 miles and more. Some have even pushed the range up to 300 miles.
However, what if that range increased even further? New electric car research says it can. Let’s take a look at how mileage may triple for electric cars in the near future.
Research Paper on Electric Cars
In a recent paper, University of Waterloo researchers claim that batteries using lithium metal and negative electrodes can serve in electric cars with some modifications.
This electric vehicle research paper, published in the scientific journal Joule, quickly caught the attention of the non-scientific community. In it, the researchers describe how they added a compound of sulfur and phosphorus to an electrolyte liquid. This electrolyte liquid is the part of the battery that holds its charge.
According to the researchers, when this compound reacts with a lithium metal electrode, it coats the electrode with a thin layer. This coating protects the electrode, which will allow its use in a car battery. Lithium metal batteries haven’t historically been used in electric cars because they degrade quickly and can be unsafe. A layer of protection would change that.
Lithium metal batteries have a much greater storage potential – up to three times what electric car batteries currently have. Will this become a stable long-term solution for electric cars? More research is needed to be sure, but this electric vehicle research paper is promising.
Electric Car Research and the Future
Having triple the range would make a huge difference in the popularity of electric cars.
Fossil fuel emissions, in no small part, cause climate change. Although electric car manufacturing results in more emissions than traditional car manufacturing, the lowered emissions on the road more than make up the difference. If electric cars can replace gas-powered vehicles, the environmental impact would be profound.
But to reach that point, electric cars need to be made as convenient, appealing, and affordable as traditional cars. Electric car research such as this paper will help manufacturers reach that point. We hope this electric vehicle research paper on lithium metal batteries inspires new research, as other researchers hope to discover their own breakthroughs.
What do you think about this electric car research? Leave a comment and let us know!
Image CC by 0, by Joenomias via Pixabay.