Future of electric cars hinges on better batteries San Jose Mercury News | Electric Cars and Hybrid Vehicle - Green energy

Future of electric cars hinges on better batteries San Jose Mercury News

27 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Future of electric cars hinges on better batteries San Jose Mercury News отключены
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Future of electric cars on better batteries


Electric cars are a game-changing with an Achilles heel the

Current batteries are expensive and limited range, making it to drive from San Jose to San and back without stopping to Experts agree consumers never fully embrace vehicles until they can as far as a gas-powered car on a single charge.

So the race is on to build a better battery, one that pulls off the feat of extending range being long-lasting, affordable, and safe.

In Asia, governments and big companies are investing heavily in battery technology, while in the States much of the cutting-edge is being performed at Department of labs and universities. The Bay Area to Palo Alto-based Tesla (TSLA ), Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and two dozen battery has emerged as one of the nation s leading of battery innovation.

Transportation is to go electric, and batteries have a real critical technology, Steve Visco, chief officer of PolyPlus, a startup was spun out of the Berkeley lab. The government is subsidizing a lot of battery and in Japan the companies have 20- and 30-year technology road

The stakes are enormous. President Obama wants to see 1 million vehicles on America s highways by but many say that goal be hard to reach until improves.

The perception of range is a real challenge for us, Renault-Nissan CEO Ghosn, whose company the all-electric Nissan Leaf, during a visit to Stanford last month. People are because it is a double dip the range is and then if I am stuck, where can I

Batteries are complex systems convert stored chemical into electricity. Researchers say often involve trade-offs: range may result in skyrocketing or a shorter battery life.


It is a very humbling to work on batteries, said Srinivasan, a scientist who leads the regarded Batteries for Advanced Technologies team at the Berkeley To make a good battery is hard, and to mass produce it is harder. If you shoot for one improvement, you lose out on something else, and you can t on safety. If we could double the density, that would be a breakthrough.

Measured as kilowatt hours per or liter, energy density range: The more watt you have, the more miles the car can on a single charge. Low-cost, density batteries are the holy

If you could go 300 miles on a charge, you d see growth in electric vehicles, Michael Omotoso, an auto with J.D. Power and We think battery costs come down due to volume but we don t see energy density going up much.

The Tesla Roadster, Leaf and Chevrolet Volt all use form of lithium-ion chemistry in batteries. First commercialized by in 1991, lithium-ion batteries are used in consumer electronics as laptops and cellphones but are relatively new in

Tesla Motors assembled than 6,800 lithium-ion into a massive 990-pound pack for its $109,000 Tesla an engineering feat that the largest lithium-ion pack in the with a range of 245 miles.

s upcoming Model S sedan, to hit the market in 2012, will be with three battery options: 160, 230 or 300 miles per Though pricing isn t final, the differences among the three speaks to battery cost. The Model S has a base price of before the $7,500 federal tax

The 230-mile range option about $10,000 more and the range option is $20,000 or $77,400.

Consumers want the to charge batteries quickly, so the S is equipped to charge in 45 minutes if Tesla has not announced the battery

The bulky battery pack in the limited the car to two seats with storage room. For the Model S, a larger car that seats adults, Tesla has married the pack to the structure of the car, a that makes the vehicle aerodynamic.

Santa Monica-based Automotive, whose all-electric sedan should launch in this year, has also the battery into the structural of the car. CODA s 34 kWh battery with an expected range of 90 to 120 is between the rear wheels and the axle. Coda has not finalized the warranty, but it is expected to be at least years or 100,000 miles.

Range is important, said Gow, Coda s vice of battery systems. But life is too. If you have to replace the that s a significant cost. We to design a car where the battery the life of the vehicle.

We have a battery with a lot of range. Our constraint is cost.

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The basic of a battery include a negatively anode, a positively charged and the electrolyte. When a battery is charged, the lithium ions are in the anode. As the battery discharges, the flow to the cathode and current through the electric circuit, energy.

The most commercially anode material is graphite; are usually made of a lithium such as lithium iron Many startups are experimenting battery chemistry and using materials for the anode or cathode or

While there s talk in the of moving beyond lithium and new materials, many expect batteries to remain dominant in the decades.

Everyone is moving up the technology curve, said Jim Tesla s vice president for hardware engineering. Lithium-ion is on a strong trajectory; it hasn t We are using better cells, and we ve how to package them more together. But it s not just about a better battery. A better means we have a better

The Obama administration has poured billion into electric-vehicle and charging infrastructure in hopes of energy density, bringing costs and creating jobs. Nissan and Fisker Automotive been awarded loans to manufacturing facilities, and several companies were awarded ARPA-E grants, which high-risk, high-reward energy PolyPlus received a $5 million grant for its work on a rechargeable battery.

Some of the best in the country are now working in this said David Sandalow, the of Energy s assistant secretary for and international affairs. When you intellectual capital and financial that s what happens. It s a space to be in.

Illinois, Massachusetts and are centers of advanced battery and the Bay Area has also emerged as a player: Tesla Motors build the Model S at its Fremont and several startups have spun out of the Berkeley lab and Stanford

Many battery startups in stealth mode and have yet to their technology in depth. But are attracting venture capital

Amprius, based in Mountain uses silicon for the material in the anode and raised $25 million in Seeo, founded in 2007 an exclusive license to use advanced from the Berkeley lab, is by Khosla Ventures, and Envia a Newark startup using in its cathode, raised $17 million General Motors.

Everyone is the materials that are used, Srinivasan of the Berkeley lab, who of 24 battery startups in the region. We get that say, Hi, we started a company, can we come meet you?

Contact Dana

at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.

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