Could alkaline batteries be the future of electric vehicle power?
While lithium ion batteries are all the rage in the electric vehicle industry the US government has confirmed that researchers at Princeton University have been awarded a near $1 million grant to look at developing commercially viable alkaline batteries for the electric vehicle industry. This is part of the $36 million Department of Energyâ€™s "Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems" program, which was announced recently.
Those of a certain age will be well aware of alkaline batteries, which first emerged back in 1958, and while some may see this as a step back in time, they may well offer a more cost-efficient means of powering electric vehicles in the medium to longer term.
Battery pack costs
When you bear in mind that the cost per kilowatt-hour stood at $700 in 2012 and is expected to fall to around $250 per kilowatt hour by 2015, progress is being made within the battery technology industry. Battery packs are a massive element of the overall cost of an electric vehicle and while there is an understanding that technology in this area needs to improve, perhaps we need to go back to basics to move forward?
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Israeli company Phinergy is today taking center stage within the electric vehicle market amid rumors of a breakthrough in the battery sector. Traditional lithium ion batteries seem to have been pushed to the limit by battery manufacturers to date although developments in the aluminumâ€“air battery arena could give electric vehicles a journey span of 1000 miles. So what next?"
It will be interesting to see results from the US government's investment program as there is still some suspicion that the authorities are perhaps not as supportive of the EV industry as they could be. Even though a $36 million investment across more than 20 companies connected with battery technology is certainly a step forward it is not exactly mind blowing money when you bear in mind the billions of dollars the US government spends protecting its supply of oil.
Finding a balance
It is becoming more evident that battery technology companies need to find a balance between efficiency, cost and the potential environmental impact. There has been talk of a near 500 mile journey capacity battery system being tested by IBM but skeptics will say this has been "rumored" for many years and has yet to emerge into the commercial world.
Read more at ElectricForum.
Electric vehicle image via Shutterstock.