While the dark cloud that was the Better Place bankruptcy may have had a silver lining for some in Israel, in the US that cumulonimbus is wrapped with lithium. Or, more precisely, lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4) with a sprinkling of lithium nickel oxide (LiNiO2). That's because a boat load of batteries intended for those erstwhile BP swapping stations have found their way across the Atlantic and into the clutches of our friends over at EVTV.
As a Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary who pushed hard for plug-in vehicles, it seems only natural that Dr. Steven Chu would eventually hook up with a technology company in that sector once he left his government position. Well, now he has. Battery maker Amprius has announced that the Nobel Laureate has joined the its board.
Not long ago, Envia Systems' innovative battery looked like it would break barriers. The "High Capacity Manganese Rich (HCMR)" technology was supposed to provide General Motors with an affordable battery that could power the next-generation Chevy Volt and move other, pure EVs at least 200 miles on a single charge. Now, though, the Silicon Valley-based company looks more like the latest cautionary tale for anyone trying to successfully enter the lithium battery and electric vehicle space.
Oh man, there's another one of these studies on electric vehicle batteries that sounds too good to be true. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers are working on a breakthrough in lithium sulfur EV battery technology that could increase energy density to four times that of current lithium cells. The demonstrable discharge/charge cycle is estimated to last through 1,500 cycles, which means that a car using this tech could theoretically go something like 450,000 miles without requiring
A presentation made by Belgian researchers at Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS) 27 in Barcelona might irk fans of battery-driven EVs. A new study found that the numbers prove fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle (FCHEV) powertrains partnered with supercapacitors have better fuel economy than powertrains that blend a fuel cell and a battery.
A123 makes a pretty good lithium battery that has a high-cycle life and can put out loads of power. What it's not so good at, however, is holding a lot of energy. At least, not when compared to the Panasonic cells that Tesla Motors uses in the Model S. Sure, it's great for hybrids and city-car applications like the Chevy Spark EV, but if it's going to find a place in the longer-range EVs of the future, it will need to up its game. It looks like that could happen.
For companies in the lithium battery business, multi-segment marketing has become a necessity. A few years ago, electric vehicles looked like the next smartphone-like growth area for battery makers. Now, it's more turmoil than profits for some battery makers.
A123 Systems may have expressed doubt in its ability to continue as a going concern in a recent financial filing, but that doesn't mean the company has given up. Indeed, due to increases in its power-grid and commercial transportation portfolios, it has announced it will be hiring an additional 400 workers over the next few months to boost production at its Livonia and Romulus, MI plants. The additional hires would more than reverse the cuts made last November and bring staffing levels to an all
Looking for signs that the automotive landscape may be changing sooner than most people realize? Here's one. Envia Systems, a start-up battery company that counts General Motors as a significant investor, has announced it has produced a cell with an energy density of 400 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg). It also claims they will be priced somewhere in the $125 per kilowatt-hour neighborhood. Put another way, a $20,000 car using these cells could travel 300 miles on a charge. Even if that scenario
Mitsubishi Chemical has responded to the expected rise in demand for hybrid and electric vehicles by announcing its intentions to boost supply of anode materials for lithium-ion batteries by 130 percent by next May. The company's current anode material output, listed at 3,000 tons, should reach 5,000 tons by the end of December and 7,000 tons in eight month's time.
Ford Focus EV – Click above for high-res image gallery
Carmakers don't typically ask prospective customers how long the warranty should be on their new car. That decision is usually made based on how much the manufacturer thinks longer warranty coverage will cost and what its competitors might be doing. However, as we enter the era of electrification we are dealing with a major new factor: the battery packs.
Chevrolet Volt battery pack – Click above for high-res image gallery
A recurring question in the plug-in vehicle world goes something like this: When an electrical vehicle (EV) battery can no longer provide adequate power and range in its primary role of propulsion, then what? More specifically, what else are these partially spent batteries still capable of powering? We've heard a myriad of possible uses for them – everything from vending machines to mobile generators – but most of us are more interested in using these hunks of li-ion to someho
Ford Focus Electric battery packs – Click above for high-res image gallery
Nissan Leaf factory rendering – Click above for high-res image gallery
Safety is a common concern as the automotive industry moves towards electric vehicles. In particular, focusing on the potential risks involved with li-ion battery technology is crucial as automakers move away from NiMH packs and towards li-ion storage.