An electric car battery’s short range is a concern for many. Japan’s new car battery breakthrough will apparently double the range for the same cost.
Opponents of electric vehicles criticize the limited range of the car battery that drives them. They are saying its impractical and will never replace combustion engines. This week’s Japanese breakthrough in battery technology however, promises to put EVs on par with fossil-fueled cars. The Nikkei Business Daily reports that the battery will already see mass production in 2020.
Facing increased competition from China and South Korea in particular, Japanese companies have been forced to hone their lithium-ion battery technology. The new battery will have double the capacity at the same weight-class and costs of production. Mitsubishi’s current i-MiEV compact car has a range of 170km (106 miles). An i-MiEV fitted with the new car battery would in comparison have a range of 340km (212 miles).
Toyota may have introduced the hybrid car to the world with their Prius, however the Japanese car maker has long seen fuel-cells as the only alternative to fossil-fueled engines. Tesla Motors’ impact on the automotive industry has pushed even Toyota’s managers to reconsider. Toyota stated in June it will be producing a new type of lithium-ion battery using a solid electrolyte. A German consortium plans to build gigafactory of lithium-ion batteries to rival that of Tesla’s with production set to begin in 2019. Volvo says it will be releasing all-electric vehicles beginning in 2019 as well.
The future for electric cars looks brighter day by day. What’s good for the industry will in turn benefit not only consumers but also the environment. Though, the production of lithium-ion batteries is highly energy consuming. If not produced with green energy, car batteries couldn’t possibly be considered clean. However, if manufacturers did like Tesla and powered their gigafactories with solar panels while aggressively recycling lithium-batteries, we wouldn’t have to worry.