Insufficient range remains one of the biggest obstacles to promoting electric vehicles. However, an internationally renowned battery researcher said it is only a matter of time before battery-powered vehicles overtake conventional vehicles.
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According to foreign media reports, Maximian Fichtner, head of energy storage systems at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, believes that in the next few years, traction batteries will make great progress in two specific areas, one is storage materials, and the other It is the field of battery structure.
In the field of battery materials, the development of anode materials is particularly gratifying. According to the academic, a composite material composed of graphite and silicon could soon replace the currently dominant pure graphite. Because the storage density of silicon is ten times higher than that of graphite, it can significantly increase the energy content of the battery.
Fichtner expects that in terms of battery structure, the same form factor can accommodate more storage materials thanks to new technologies. “In the current configuration, the actual active storage material only accounts for 25-30% of the battery volume, with the rest being the casing, packaging and additives. Future battery systems will use the installation space more efficiently, allowing the proportion of storage material to almost double At the same time, the new design method will help to increase the energy content and reduce the cost.
Fichtner believes that in the development process of solid-state batteries, if the graphite anode is replaced with metallic lithium, the cruising range will be increased by 30-40%. “Solid-state batteries are therefore seen as the holy grail of battery research.” However, uncertainty remains in this area of research because such batteries have not yet been mass-produced and the exact cost is unclear.
Today, lithium-ion batteries can be industrially produced on a large scale, and production costs have dropped significantly. If lithium iron phosphate cathode material is used, it may fall below $100 per kWh. “It’s a magic threshold below which electric cars become cheaper than combustion engine models,” Fichtner said.
Based on all the improvements that have been made or are being implemented, the KIT expert believes that the range of electric vehicles may well exceed 500 kilometers in the near future, “even 1,000 kilometers very likely.”
Fichtner believes that in order to popularize electric vehicles, in addition to improving batteries, further development of the charging infrastructure is required. Most importantly, provide high-performance fast-charging stations across the country. In addition, there is still a lot of work to be done to make it easier for city dwellers who don’t have chargers at home. Finally, it is necessary to provide a clear and uniform fee schedule.