But what’s the future for the technology needed to power these cars? In particular, can the industry really expect in the coming years an electric car battery that is not only economical, but delivers the performance needed to make these cars a common site on the streets?
This was the topic of a recent roundtable discussion held by The Kavli Foundation with Seth Fletcher, Senior Editor at Popular Science, and two researchers in the field – Clare Grey at the University of Cambridge and Jeff Sakamoto at Michigan State University.
According to Fletcher, the dynamics for innovation are falling into place. “A few years ago there were essentially no electric cars on the road in the United States,” said Fletcher, who is also the author of “Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy." “Now there are several thousand that people actually own, which is completely different than in the 1990s when people were leasing EV1s. Think about it: GM leased 800 EV1s over the course of three years. Last year alone, GM sold nearly 8,000 Volts.”
Better battery technology for powering these vehicles also looks promising. “There is much good work going on,” according to Jeff Sakamoto, Assistant Professor in Michigan State University's Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “Some of it is focused on exploring new battery configurations and chemistries. One, referred to as a 'solid state' battery, uses a solid ceramic electrolyte that can replace current, flammable liquid electrolytes. Other potentially interesting though challenging areas include research on lithium-air batteries. Researchers are also exploring how different electrode materials, particularly silicon, might be used to improve battery performance.”
Another innovative direction is redox flow batteries. “Basically, these batteries pump an electrolyte solution or powder in and out of the battery,” said Clare Grey, Professor in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry. “Most batteries today are closed, sealed systems, so you’re limited to the electrons you have in a contained space. Flow batteries get rid of that limitation…And more electrons out means cars with longer ranges.”
In 2011, Grey received The Royal Society’s Kavli Medal and Lecture for work that included groundbreaking in situ studies on batteries and fuel cells. Grey recently noted that not only the technology is promising; incentives are changing in countries like the United Kingdom so the industry itself is invested in the success of these cars. “[In Europe,] emissions are regulated across each manufacturer’s fleet of vehicles. So as a result, BMW and Mercedes… are really pushing their electric and hybrid vehicle programs to reduce their fleets’ overall emissions. …And the good thing is, people are buying these cars. At the high-end of the market, it seems, people don’t mind paying a bit extra for electric or hybrid vehicles. In the most optimistic scenario that demand will eventually trickle down into the lower-end markets as well."
For the complete discussion, visit: http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/charging-auto-industryJames Cohen, Director of Communications
James Cohen | Newswise Science News
Improved Performance thanks to Reduced Weight
24.07.2017 | Technische Universität Chemnitz
New Headlamp Dimension: Fully Adaptive Light Distribution in Real Time
29.06.2017 | Universität Stuttgart
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine