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Lithium-ion battery pack for 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV electric carEnlarge PhotoIf it wasn't so important for the future of electric cars, it could almost get tiresome: Just how do you improve batteries for longer life, quicker charging and a greater range? It's a question being investigated by great minds all around the world, and has turned up some surprising and exciting results over the last few years.
Inspired by Popular Mechanics' look at potential electric vehicle and hybrid battery breakthroughs, we've compiled many of our previous battery tech articles into one handy guide. The aluminum plates used have high energy density, and companies testing it such as Phinergy say you'd need to refill the car with water every few hundred miles.
Existing lithium-ion technology is among the best battery technology we have for electric cars and hybrids. Compared to other battery types it's relatively energy-dense, charges relatively quickly, is lighter than many other battery types, and it's tried-and-tested.
Others have researched into the existing problems with lithium-ion tech--such as reducing the tendency for lithium to gather around the battery electrodes. Then there's lithium-air tech--an offshoot of lithium-ion batteries, and one that could significantly increase energy density. It sounds unlikely, but simple herbs could be employed to make batteries greener in future.
In a rare look at improving the environmental aspects of batteries rather than increasing their range, researchers at Rice University and the City College of New York have looked at using the herb madder, or purpurin, as a natural cathode for lithium-ion batteries. You might not gain hundreds of miles, but any eco-minded electric car driver would be glad to know their batteries had just a little less impact on the environment, right? 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. Your use of this website constitutes acknowledgement and acceptance of our Terms & Conditions. 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. This is difficult to say right now as the first production electric cars with lithium ion battery technology are still very new, but most people agree they will last at least eight years before they reach what is called the 'end of life' – Vauxhall even has an eight-year warranty on the battery in its Ampera.But ‘end of life’ doesn’t mean the battery will stop working at that moment – ‘end of life’ is actually the point at which batteries reach 80% efficiency, so they'll still work pretty well for years after that. Aluminum is used as the anode in a battery, ambient air (and the oxygen in it) as a cathode, and water molecules.
But it isn't perfect, and several research groups are looking for a way to improve on its existing strengths.

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. In fact, some Ford Ranger EVs from the late 1990s with less efficient lead acid and NiMH batteries are still going, nearly 15 years later.Lithium ion should fare a lot better, which is just as well because a new battery is expensive right now – they’re the major reason electric cars cost so much to buy – but prices will fall as more electric cars hit the road. Combined in the battery, they produce hydrated aluminum oxide and energy--and that energy can be used to power a car.
Egg-line nanoparticles of sulfur are one option, improving energy transfer and hugely increasing capacity, while silicon nanoparticles to replace graphite anodes is another. And Nissan says you're going to have to replace individual modules in the battery pack, rather than an entire battery, which will cost hundreds of ?s rather than thousands (or tens of thousands, if some reports will have you believe). After eight years the engine is a bit old and tired, perhaps a bit smokey, and doesn't have the same horsepower it had when new.

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