Most market analysts say that the long-term success of electric vehicles will depend upon market access to dependable, long-lasting, long range, more affordable batteries. The U.S. Dept. of Energy thinks the next generation of usable battery technology is still 10 years away. The “10 years from now” forecast is commonly used to describe technology advancements of all shapes and sizes. Since next-gen batteries are a long ways out, lithium-ion batteries will play a critical transitional role. Tony Hancock, of the DOE’s Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center, says that the current lithium-ion battery chemistry still has room for improvement, and can use these available technologies to meet market needs. Still, li-ion battery improvements will be years from now, so there’s no single, simple solution.
Li-ion batteries will be the solution for the next decade or so, but improvement to the batteries are highly anticipated for reducing the cost of production. The volatility of the battery’s chemistry is a concern, and researchers say that some companies could skip safety standards in order to reduce costs more quickly. More energy-dense batteries are needed, such as lithium-sodium batteries, with sodium being more abundant than lithium-ion or lithium-air technology.