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Headquartered in Germany, BASF will devote a substantial portion of its annual $2.3 billion annual research budget to help solving the problems hindering mass electric car uptake – namely battery weight, power density, and cost.
BASF’s announcement is particularly significant as it follows the withdrawal of several high profile European companies from the battery development arena, including Siemens and Germany’s second-largest chemical company, Evonik Industries, which even had an agreement in place with automotive giant Daimler. This kind of commitment is required if automotive battery technology – so utterly integral to the success of electromobility – is to avoid stalling in the coming years. The most efficient lithium-ion electric car batteries currently yield an energy density of around 200-watts-per-kilogram, meaning an electric range comparable to gasoline-engined cars would theoretically require a 870kg battery. Increasing battery size to boost range is a game of diminishing returns, however, as every additional battery cell adds yet more weight, increasing inefficiency. It means that in reality a car with a gasoline-competitive electric range would need a battery weighing more than 1,000kg and would weight well in excess 2 tons in total.
Tesla’s Model S sedan is currently the market leader with a range of around 300 miles, but even with an aluminium body it weighs a Range Rover-equalling 2,100kg.
BASF will want to explore as many avenues as possible, and is already working on one particularly promising project involving magnesium ion battery technology with the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials in Tel Aviv. Professor Doron Aurbach, who leads the research at Bar-Ilan University, told The Times of Israel that the fruits of these projects will be seen in cellphones in the near future.
Combined with innovations such as Volvo’s integrated body panel batteries – already capable of supplying around 70 miles range from just the door, roof and bonnet panels – the relatively heavy but currently omnipotent lithium-ion battery could soon be a thing of the past.
Electric cars use batteries to store energy, and those batteries are recharged through your home’s electrical supply. The batteries in electric cars are made of stacked electrochemical cells, and each cell typically produces about two volts.
The first electric vehicles used DC motors, but most new cars use an inverter to convert direct current to alternating current, with the AC powering the induction motor. Most electric cars have high torque at low speeds, with great acceleration capabilities – meaning that they can stand up to city driving. Today’s electric cars have performance and range that suit them to a variety of applications such as delivery use, commuting, city driving and trips where low-emission vehicles are required. 2012 Mitsubishi i electric car battery packEnlarge PhotoWe'd be the first to point out that many of the electric car owners currently out on the roads have had absolutely no trouble with the 100 or so miles they get from a full charge. However, it'd be foolish to assume that some people really don't need more than that, and as a result there's always room for an EV with greater range. Improvements to battery technology could be the best way to find this range, and according to New Scientist (via Autoblog), developments in Lithium-Air batteries from IBM could give us electric cars with a 500-mile range. Lithium-air batteries have significantly greater energy density than regular lithium-ion batteries - close to that of gasoline, in fact. Several companies are working to improve Lithium-air technology, by testing moisture-proof battery membranes, and graphene cathodes. IBM is seeking to improve the electrolyte, the solvent that carries lithium ions between anode and cathode. However, an IBM-led coalition called Battery 500, hopes to have a full-scale prototype running by 2013, and commercial batteries ready by 2020.

You might have to wait a few more years for an electric car that truly goes further than the gasoline equivalent, but it's on its way.
The chargers are weatherproof, and you can permanently mount them in the engine compartment with the provided ring terminals, or just use the alligator clips. But while it's a positive outlook, there will be some things that need to change before we can start seeing truly significant price cuts on EVs and hybrids. Brian Kesseler, the president of Johnson Controls Inc.'s JCI Power Solutions division said cell costs may indeed fall by half, but overall costs of battery packs, which include the control systems that surround the energy source, are unlikely to decline that quickly without standardization across different auto makers. A new theory presented by Japanese automaker, Nissan, is about the possibility for an electric car owner for powering their homes using discarded electric car batteries. This is a new model of energy theory is working by Nissan in order to anticipate the near future trend of electric vehicles and the used batteries as additional household power storage after midnight hours, which normally cost half the price of electricity generated during day time. Hopefully, this way, could help EV owners to minimize electrical expenses as well as reducing the carbon footprint. Daimler, parent to Mercedes Benz, is developing both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars to meet upcoming emissions regulations. Zetsche also took the opportunity to prod German chancellor Angela Merkel and her government.
Progress has so far been modest, however, with a typical automotive lithium-ion battery yielding roughly 90 miles of range. As breakthroughs go, then, the ability to increase the energy density of existing lithium-ion batteries by a factor of seven would be hugely significant.
Even more remarkably, it would mean a Tesla Model S would only need to charge up every 2,000-or-so miles, far outperforming even the most frugal gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.
According to Nikkei Technology, researchers at the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo may have discovered a way to make such a breakthrough by adding cobalt to the crystal structure of lithium oxide for the positive electrode in a battery cell.
Tests on the new battery have shown that it accepts charging and discharging cycles successfully without generating excess carbon dioxide or oxygen.
However, the University of Tokyo says that their battery’s sealed structure gives it greater reliability and safety, both of which are crucial for automotive usage. The lack of progress to date could already be held responsible for the overwhelming likelihood of almost every governmental electric car adoption target being missed between now and 2020. Such a car would be unfeasibly expensive and the immense weight would invite potentially dangerous handling characteristics.
Up until the late 90s, most electric vehicles used lead-acid batteries, but today’s cars are usually fitted with lithium polymer or lithium ion cells. Cars such as these have higher power, increased efficiency and lower maintenance requirements. The shifting mechanism works the same way as in an automatic vehicle, and upon accelerator usage, you won’t hear much noise from the engine. Some models are specifically designed for these conditions, with a top speed of about fifty miles per hour, but many newer models can easily reach highway speeds of about 70 mph. Because of their versatility, electric cars are often used in commercial fleets and as company commuter vehicles.

That's enough to beat many internal combustion cars on sale today, and would certainly eliminate range anxiety. That means batteries could be down-scaled - and therefore vehicle weight reduced - while still increasing range.
Current electrolytes react with air and become depleted over time, so IBM is testing various materials.
To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center. So if you can put ex-car batteries in your house and charge up your batteries during the night at half the price, then run your house off the battery during the day, you save an awful amount of cost and you do your carbon footprint a fairly big favour,” Palmer said.
Officials say they want 1 million electric cars on the road in Germany by the year 2020, but Zetsche says the government has done far too little to make that goal a reality. He has been known to drive to Nova Scotia just to see the lupins in bloom or to Watkins Glen for a weekend of historic racing. As it improves, so does the driving range of the increasingly popular zero-emission vehicles.
While ideal for many electric car owners using their vehicles on shorter daily routes, that range is some way short of the 200 miles of range that would open up the market to the majority of drivers.
Cost aside, such technology would allow the Nissan LEAF to drive roughly 550 miles on a single charge using a similarly sized battery to the 24kWh unit it currently features.
It means that while extensive tests will still be required before this technology reaches a road-legal car, the early signs are encouraging.
Having fallen for cars because of the virtues of a particular German flat-six, it's what we'll all be driving next that now interests Richard most. Without considering the practicality of building such a battery, we can look at the periodic table and pick out the lightest elements with multiple oxidations states that do form compounds. These new batteries offer better performance and a longer range, and are the choice of most vehicle makers. However, they cost a bit more, and the apparatus that controls the motor’s speed and inverts the power is more complex.
But as currently designed, they have a theoretical energy density limit of about 2 mega-joules per kilogram. Some electric cars recharge the batteries en route with regenerative braking, which can increase range by up to 20%. And if research regarding the substitution of silicon for carbon in the anodes is realized in a practical way, then the theoretical limit on lithium-ion batteries might break 3 mega-joules per kilogram. Assuming that we could actually make such a battery, its theoretical limit would be around 5 mega-joules per kilogram. Therefore, the maximum theoretical potential of advanced lithium-ion batteries that haven’t been demonstrated to work yet is still only about 6 percent of crude oil!

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