The founder of A123 Systems says he has a better battery design that could cut the costs of the electric vehicle batteries by an astounding 85%.
Yet-Miang Chang, founder of A123, has reportedly raised $10 million in venture capital to conduct research on the new technology. Research would performed in a spin-off company called 24M, reports the MIT Technology Review. Chiang is a professor of materials science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
If the new company is successful, it would change the electric car landscape in a way that’s almost unimaginable today. Right now, cost is one of the two the biggest barriers to widespread electric car success, largely because big EV batteries can approach $20,000. Experts say that today’s batteries typically cost from $800 to $1,000 per kilowatt-hour. That means that a 24-kWh battery like the one used in the Nissan Leaf could cost as much as $21,000 and a 40-kWh battery, like those proposed for some future EVs, would cost much more.
If A123’s new battery technology works as hoped, a 24-kWh electric car battery could presumably cost just $3,000.
The MIT Technology Review article said that A123 is divulging little about the construction of the battery and is saying nothing about the materials it will use. The magazine did say that the proposed battery would employ a “semi-solid energy storage material” and would combine the best attributes of conventional batteries, fuel cells and “flow batteries.”
Cost has long been a major barrier for battery makers. In the ‘90s, the United States Advanced Battery Consortium set a long-term goal of $100/kWh for pure electric car batteries, but has since backed off. Most automakers today are hoping to bring the cost to $250/kWh for pure electrics and $293/kWh for plug-in hybrids with a 40-mile range.
An 85% cost reduction would presumably bring EV battery cost far below that figure.