One of the current issues with electric cars is that people want to be able to get a driving range out of them similar to their 350 mile per tank gas cars, something that they've not yet been able to do. Despite the fact that 80% of people drive fewer than 50 miles per day, it continues to be a drawback for some consumers. That's why we're always happy to see advances in batteries that can be used in EVs, and Superlattice Power, a company based in North Carolina, has announced that it has developed a new Lithium Polymer battery that will be able to extend the range of EVs from around 120-140 miles per charge to 200.
The battery, which uses a new type of superlattice cathode, one with alternating layers of various materials, is able to significantly increase the range of the operating voltage as well as the energy density. Traditional lithium-ions get about 150Ah/kg, and can produce around 550Wh/kg, whereas with the new lattice structure, they expect their battery to achieve 240Ah/kg and 936Wh/kg after a few more months of development. The lattice material is made up of submicron-sized crystals which are linked together to enhance the ion diffusion, allowing a quick charge and discharge of the battery. The Chevy Volt, on the other hand, gets a much lower 40 miles per charge, but when out of juice, a backup generateor kicks in and recharges the battery so you don't need to spend hours plugged into an outlet. So it isn't the holy grail of electric driving, but the distance factor is a big boon.
Dr. Surajit Sengupta, their Director of Battery R&D, states: "Our objective is to create the next generation of Lithium Ion Polymer battery that is environmentally non-toxic, safe, less expensive and more powerful." This can hopeflly drastically increase the lifetime of other electronics like laptops, iPods, cell phones, and many other things that suddenly start beeping at you to plug them in at the most inopportune moments. We expect to see more from Superlattice Power later this year, and hopefully some announcements of their technology being used in actual EVs, so we'll keep you posted.
written by HippyGourmet, June 04, 2008
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