From: Editor, Electric Forum, More from this Affiliate
Published June 19, 2013 06:51 AM

Is EV battery technology more advanced than we thought?

Are EV manufacturers holding something back?

If we take a look at the EV market it seems that we have barely moved on, at least in the mass market, since the General Motors EV1 debacle in the 1990s. Mainstream battery journey capacity is still roughly the same as was available for the EV1 despite the fact that the industry has received billions of dollars in additional funding from governments and private investors. So, are EV manufacturers holding something back?


There is some speculation that various EV manufacturers are holding back the best of their technology until it has been fine tuned and thoroughly tested. There is speculation that while some of the "financially weak" companies are falling by the wayside, in the shape of Fisker for example, we are starting to see some stronger companies emerge from the market. This is potentially the perfect storm for the EV market, with companies falling by the wayside leaving the lion's share of future investment to those looking further forward and able to give stability and long-term credibility.

There has been speculation for some time now that battery power technology is perhaps a lot further developed than we may be led to believe in public. We have companies such as IBM testing lithium air batteries which may be able to accommodate 1000 miles per full charge. We also have other companies looking at various different technologies and different metallic mixes which could severely increase the mainstream best of today which is around 129 miles per full charge with the Nissan Leaf 2013.

What are the manufacturers waiting for?

There are a number of factors which will come into play in the short, medium and longer term one of them being the fact that many US motorists are looking for journey capacity per full charge of around 300 miles before they would even look at electric vehicles. Then there are the issues with battery cost and the fact that the batteries in production today are relatively expensive with a relatively short life, therefore impacting the overall cost efficiency of electric vehicles themselves.

It may well be that the EV manufacturers are waiting for the motoring public to become more switched on to electric vehicles, perhaps they are waiting for environmentally friendly groups to put more pressure upon governments or maybe, the technology is not there?

Photo of Nissan Leaf battery pack via Green Car Reports.

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