Battery Improvements Are Coming
Today the lithium-ion battery is the energy storage medium of choice. These come in various chemical cocktails and the highest-range EV today is the 85-kwh Tesla Model S as Tesla says a 400-mile battery could be retrofitted soon to its original 2008-2012 Roadster.
Numerous automakers, as well as universities, and other concerns are improving energy storage. It’s been reported the next-generation EVs, such as Nissan’s Leaf, could have range upwards of 180 miles, which may come from a new chemistry.
Higher ranges are demanded by many consumers, and Tesla is dead set on building a 200-mile range EV priced near where the Leaf is now.
Beyond this, other energy storage tech, including supercapacitors which could play a role, are nearing commercial readiness. Promising research is underway for lithium-air, solid state batteries, and aluminum air and advanced military and aerospace concerns are already using these as the work to cost-effectively increase energy density to several times li-ion continues.
One potential example is by Israel-based Phinergy. This startup has demonstrated its aluminum-air battery ideal for range extending a convention li-ion BEV. The company has partnered with Fortune 500 giant Alcoa and if that’s not a huge vote of confidence that this is not vaporware, we don’t know what is. Today its technology exists for cost-effective EVs that can go 1,000-2,500 miles if someone wants to build it.
This and other hopeful signs are out there. The brightest minds are working on it, and many scientists would like to have their name attached to a world-changing breakthrough.