How Long Will It Take for Next-Gen Batteries to Arrive?

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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.

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