Headline 2020 – 800kms on a single charge – EV batteries ridiculously cheap!
EV sales doubled in 2013. So far this year (up to June 2014) sales in the US are over 30% up on the same period as 2013 with the Nissan Leaf leading the pack. The trend is set and the naysayers of EV technology are diminishing in number as more people discover the advantages of driving electric. But what of battery technology – where are we headed? With the strategic direction of many countries to be energy independent and less reliant on foreign oil, the search for better battery technology not only for EVs but for grid storage purposes has increased enormously. It is interesting to get some insight into how the technology is developing and who is driving it.
Economies of scale are beginning to reduce production costs of EVs but it’s essential that the cost of batteries comes down further. Elon Musk earlier this year announced the battery Gigafactory with the goal of a 30% plus reduction in the price of batteries. The days of old technology internal combustion engines are numbered and the abandonment of ICE vehicles will be faster than many realise.
The prize is enormous for cheap energy dense batteries – not just EVs and consumer goods but also for energy storage systems that will lead to decentralised power and energy abundance powered by clean technology. Research is gathering pace around the world with breakthroughs in various aspects of battery technology announced every few weeks.
To give us some insight in to this energy revolution let’s take a look at the US based Joint Center for Energy Storage Research. This is a partnership of five universities, five national laboratories and four private sector partners. The goal for this research effort is to develop storage systems that are five times as energy dense as current lithium ion batteries at one fifth the cost within five years. That’s a lot of fives and I’m sure high fives will be in order if the goals are achieved for after all this would give us an increase in range to around 800kms on a single charge. The link below is a Q&A with George Crabtree, director of the JCESR. Interesting stuff.