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  1. #1

    The future of batteries

    Hi everyone,

    As I understand it, manufacturers of hybrid cars are moving towards using lithium batteries, and they do indeed seem to be the best technology for batteries currently, but what is the next big battery technology?

    All batteries available seem to loose capacity after a certain amount of cycles - how could this be prevented or minimized? I wouldn't want have to buy new batteries for my hybrid car every year like I have to do for my laptop.

    Cheers,
    Casper Fabricius

  2. #2
    Today's disposable electronics industry places no value on batteries that last a long time. Hopefully, the auto industry will provide rewards to battery manufacturers that increase the longevity in their new batteries.

  3. #3
    I was also thinking along these lines, ex-EV1 driver, but do you know of any development in that area, or do you have any ideas yourself? I mean, some people are even talking about taking nuclear power to the consumer level!

  4. #4
    In my day job, I'm pretty close to the battery industry. Besides incremental improvements in Li-ion batteries, the only new thing that is completely different that anyone is promising is from EEStore. Unfortunately, they are very tight-lipped and may be just plain fraud. Their capacitor technology, if real, could be a serious game-changer since capacitors have essentially unlimited cycle life as they don't involve any chemical changes to store energy. Existing capacitor technology, however, can't store as much energy as Li-ion batteries in a given weight and volume. There are also battery technologies such as Altair-Nano and A123 that get a lot more cycle life than current Li-ion batteries, however, they sacrifice capacity to get the cycle life.
    Note that cycle life can be extended in any battery technology with careful temperature, charge, and discharge control. Tesla Motors is working on this in their Roadster and hopefully, the results will be positive.
    The good news is that there are a lot of smart people working on this and with the proliferation of hybrids and soon - EVs, we are almost guaranteed to see improvements. Battery technology has improved about 10% per year over the past 2 decades through pressure from the cellphone and laptop computer industries. Hopefully, electric vehicles will continue to drive this trend.

  5. #5
    I just googled "Eestor capacitor" and I see what you mean. There are definitely some hype around this upcoming technology.

    So, being close to the battery industry, do you think the greatest improvements in battery cycles in, say, the next 10 years, will be incremental (e.g. better li-ion for hybrids) or radical (like this new stuff from Eestor)?

  6. #6
    That's a tough question. I know enough to know I don't have any idea.
    I do know that a good market in plug-in hybrids and EV's will provide a strong environment to support both of these. Therefore, it will only get better as long as hybrids and EV's continue to be bought.

  7. #7
    Thanks, ex-EV1 driver. Anyone else have any insight they might want to share?

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