The Envia batteries tested by ARPA-E were 45-Ah units. Kapadia said that a 100-mile electric sedan would need approximately 120 of the cells. A full battery pack for such a vehicle could be air-cooled or liquid-cooled, he said.
Envia, which has an interdisciplinary team of 13 PhDs in areas of material science and electrochemistry, has done all the battery's design work itself, starting in 2007.
"We've never used off-the-shelf components for our batteries," Kapadia said. "A battery is just as good as its components, and all of the components are ours."
For a close look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller. In the trip sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is taking the fire-engine-red Volt to innovation hubs across America, interviewing engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students as he blogs his way across the country.
These last few years I've been using an electric bicycle for my daily commute and converted my lawn mower to solar (the idea of a green lawn mower just seemed obvious). The efficiency of motors and motor controllers have advanced to the point of being very well-suited for transportation but energy storage is still lagging. The promise of doubling the capacity of the current battery systems would place the energy storage at the same technological level as the power plant and make e-vehicles practical. I couldn't help but notice the very cautious tone of the article, though. There are lots of questions for the future; can the cell produce high drain and deep cycle life without damage, and can the manufacturing process sustain high production levels. This is a company to watch in the future.
Love to hear these tales of startups with a new low-cost, high-energy density battery story to tell. Given all the research and R&D dollars being poured into electric car battery research, my guess is we have to be nearing the point where a lot of the early disappointments either have evolved or are being replaced with new startups and technologies that are much closer to the mark of advancing the cause. Afterall, each failure or disappointment points up valuable lessons learned that can then be applied to the next round of developments that get battery density and cost closer to where we want to go.
This is good to hear. The technology is badly needed in our society. My sole question is: can our grid handle a large percentage of cars going electric? All around the USA I see a steady increase in the cost of electricity. Am I the only one that is itching to invest in solar and electric generation in general? Another application this can be put into is off the grid Energy storage. Off the grid Inverters are cheaper. Emergency power might act as secondary storage for the grid too. I honestly see the future grid requiring Grid-tie solar or wind systems to come with a certain rating of battery power. Eventually the grid will become too erratic for our slow turning turbines to match.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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