Next week is Tesla Gigafactory week. The California automaker has a major announcement planned, and it's all about its intention to build a battery factory so large, the company is pulling out the giga prefix. At some point in the next seven days, we expect to hear where Tesla will build the plant, who it will partner with, how it will pay for it and lots of other details.
Robert Bosch GmbH and GS Yuasa Corp. think they can solve the cost and range limitation quandaries faced by lithium ion batteries and the electric vehicles they go into. By 2020, German automotive supplier Bosch and Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa plan to deliver a li-ion battery that costs half as much to produce and offers twice the energy density of today's batteries. During last month's Tokyo Motor Show, Wolf-Henning Scheider, a Bosch management board member in charge of its global automotiv
"Tonight, we're gonna party like it's 2020" doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but if Navigant Research is correct, electric-vehicle advocates will have reasons to be celebratory, whether Prince is playing or not. The research company formerly known as Pike is saying that lithium-ion battery costs may fall by almost two-thirds by the end of the decade, making EVs pretty price-competitive with comparable gas-powered cars and shortening any plug-in premium payoff period, according to Plug In
Tesla Motors has, over its short life, sourced its batteries pretty much exclusively from Panasonic. Now that sales of the Model S are blowing up – expected to be in excess of 21,000 units this year, with production ability increasing to potentially double that – and the company's future product path is becoming more clear, it seems time to diversify its battery supply lines.
Back in March, production of both the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid and the all-electric i-MiEV ground to a halt over a pair of incidents where overheated lithium-ion batteries caused vehicle fires. Following the rocky start, The Japan Times is reporting that production of the Outlander PHEV has recommenced following the five-month stoppage.
There might be a crack in China's domination of rare earth metals – a mud-filled crack, thanks to a discovery by Japanese scientists. Vast reserves of rare earth metals that can be mined cheaply have been found in deep-sea mud on the Pacific ocean seabed. These essential metals are needed for a wide range of technologies – from consumer electronics like smartphones and TVs to advanced weapons systems and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Remember the story last fall about workers at battery maker LG Chem's Holland, MI-based plant who were sitting idle? Well, the feds have investigated and the news isn't good. The US Department of Energy (DOE) released an audit earlier this month (PDF) that revealed that not a single production lithium-ion battery has been built at the plant and employees have been finding other things to spend their time doing while being paid taxpayer money.
Inventor Elliott Small and the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered how to rapid charge lithium ion batteries without overheating them. Using the new technology, off-the-shelf li-ion batteries used in cell phones, laptop computers and electric vehicles could have their charging time reduced from hours to minutes without burning out.
Wanxiang Group's acquisition of lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems has been approved by the US government, according to a statement from the Chinese auto parts maker. Wanxiang's US unit had agreed to pay $257 million for A123's automotive battery business and related assets in a bankruptcy auction.
Back in June, Toyota and BMW announced a "memorandum of understanding" outlining plans for the two companies to join forces on future products and technology development. On Thursday, they signed a more formal and binding agreement that goes further into detail about the partnership, and it all sounds pretty exciting. The two announced they will work together in four main areas:
Plug In America has launched a second electric vehicle owner experience survey – this time with the Tesla Roadster. It follows a survey conducted last year among Nissan Leaf owners, which was utilized and acknowledged by Nissan as it dealt with unexpected battery capacity loss reported by Leaf owners in high temperature Arizona.
A new study finds that automakers will be changing direction when it comes to vehicle electrification – less focus on electric vehicles and more emphasis on hybrids. Industry consultant Dr. Menahem Anderman interviewed automakers and battery makers and is forecasting electric vehicles, plug in hybrid electric vehicles and hybrids will see growth through 2020, with hybrids taking the lion's share.
A European consortium known as SmartBatt believes that something critical and essential is missing for pure electric vehicle technology – battery packs that aren't heavy and bulky. Therefore, SmarBatt's objective is to develop an innovative, multifunctional, light and safe energy storage system smartly integrated into electric cars.
Would you be interested in an electric car that travels 300 miles on a single charge but its battery costs about 70 percent less than today's packs? It's something to look forward to in the next few years, says lithium-ion battery research company CalBattery.
Thomas Edison famously said that genius was one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. To get to the heart of what's holding back broader adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), though, it's even better to paraphrase one-time Bill Clinton advisor James Carville: "It's the battery, stupid."
For companies such as Johnson Controls, Inc., there are opportunities to be had supplying advanced batteries for hybrids and electric vehicles. But where do all those advanced lithium batteries – and the older ones being pulled out today's hybrids – end up? Regulators, environmentalists and media want to know. With that in mind, opening a new battery recycling facility can be a smart move.
If you're planning on investing in a DC fast charger to get your electric vehicle battery 80 percent juiced up in 30 minutes, you might want to stick with your Level 2 charger for a while longer. Korean scientists at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) have developed a lithium ion battery that can be recharged 30 to 120 times (!) faster than li-ion batteries on the market today. What's your guestimate on how long a li-ion battery using that technology would take to rec
WARNING to electric carmakers and lithium ion battery manufacturers: it's suggested you stay away from taking equity stakes in each other's companies. Practicing this type of electric-vehicle keiretsu could lead to harikari.
With gasoline prices staying high, plug-in electric vehicles are much better on an energy cost-per-mile basis than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. The reality is, though, that when we compare lifecycle ownership costs – EV vs. ICE – the hands-down winner are gasoline-powered cars. When consumers can buy a car that gets over 30 mpg highway for something like $20,000, why pay a lot more for a plug-in? Federal tax credits and state rebates change the numbers, but percep