For the last decade, the auto industry has focused on making hybrid and electric cars more affordable and accessible to consumers. As a result, electric car ownership has grown substantially in the past few years. Recent projections indicate that electric car sales will continue to grow at an accelerated pace in the next few years as well. However, there is one hurdle that continues to limit the widespread adoption of electric cars: their range between charges. Most electric cars can only travel about 100 miles before needing to be recharged again, which can be inconvenient for drivers who live outside city centers or don’t have access to charging stations on a regular basis. Many experts also believe that current lithium-ion battery technology can’t support electric cars with a range of over 200 miles until 2022. As a result, many people believe that new battery technology might be needed sooner rather than later to support the increased adoption of electric cars.
What is lithium-ion battery technology?
Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of rechargeable battery used in electric cars today. They are similar to lithium-ion batteries used for powering mobile devices like laptops and smartphones. The key difference between these two types of lithium-ion batteries is that the batteries that power electric cars need to be able to store 10 times more energy per kilogram than the batteries in our mobile devices. For this reason, electric car batteries are much larger than lithium-ion batteries powering our mobile devices. However, both types of lithium-ion batteries have one key thing in common: the electrodes are made from lithium, a highly reactive metal. This is why lithium-ion batteries are also sometimes called lithium-ion batteries.
Why is lithium-ion battery technology important?
Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of electric car battery currently on the market today. While there are other types of batteries available for powering electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries are expected to remain the dominant type of battery for electric cars for the foreseeable future. Lithium-ion batteries are relatively safe, cost-effective, and can be produced in large quantities that are necessary for the mass manufacturing of cars. Most importantly, lithium-ion batteries can be recharged, meaning that the lifespan of the battery can be significantly longer than other types of batteries such as lead-acid batteries. Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries do not need to be replaced after a single charge/discharge cycle. Instead, they can be recharged hundreds of times without losing any significant amount of capacity.
Problems with current Lithium-Ion Battery Technology
Despite the widespread adoption of lithium-ion batteries for powering electric cars, there are some ongoing issues with this type of battery.
– Excessive overheating – Lithium-ion batteries can overheat in certain situations, which can cause them to catch fire, especially if they are being charged at a high rate.
– Limited lifespan – While lithium-ion batteries can be recharged hundreds of times, they can eventually start losing capacity after about 10 years of usage. After about 20 years, most lithium-ion batteries will need to be replaced since they will no longer be able to charge to 100% capacity.
– Limited charging rate – Many of the lithium-ion batteries currently on the market can only be recharged at a maximum rate of about 10,000 amperes per hour (A/h). This means that it can take up to 10 hours for a lithium-ion battery to charge from 0% to 100% capacity. Fortunately, engineers have been working on creating better lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged at much higher charging rates, which could make electric car charging times much shorter in the future.
Future of Lithium-Ion Batteries in Cars
Despite the issues with current lithium-ion batteries, many experts believe that this type of battery will continue to dominate the electric car market in the near future. This is because lithium-ion batteries have been widely used in electric cars for many years and engineers have a good understanding of how lithium-ion batteries work. While engineers are working on developing new types of batteries that can charge at much higher rates, it can take years before new battery types are ready for use in electric cars since safety testing can be a lengthy process. Moreover, since lithium-ion batteries are already being produced in large quantities for electric cars, it would be more cost-effective for automakers to continue using lithium-ion batteries for the foreseeable future rather than switching to a new type of battery.
Overall, lithium-ion batteries are an essential piece of technology for powering electric cars. They are relatively safe, cost-effective, and can be recharged hundreds of times without losing any significant amount of capacity. Unfortunately, current lithium-ion batteries can only be recharged at a limited rate of about 10,000 A/h, which can take 10 hours to fully charge a battery from 0% to 100% capacity. Unfortunately, excessive overheating, a limited lifespan, and a limited charging rate are just a few of the issues that engineers need to overcome in order to make lithium-ion batteries suitable for long-distance driving. Yet, many experts believe that engineers will overcome these issues within the next few years, which could pave the way for longer-distance electric cars that are more accessible to the average consumer.