A decade ago, the term “lithium-ion” meant little to consumers. Now, it’s everywhere. Consumers know it as the power source for their laptops, cellphones, hybrid vehicles, and electric cars. It’s also showing up less conspicuously in storage applications on electrical grids. And it has been prominently cited as the battery chemistry that caught fire on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
Lithium-ion’s sudden rise to public prominence has happened for a reason. It’s an energetic chemistry the likes of which have not been previously available. In vehicles, for example, lithium-ion offers three times as much energy as lead-acid and 50 percent more than nickel-metal hydride.
“Lithium-ion has terrific properties in terms of energy density,” David Cole, chairman emeritus of The Center for Automotive Research, told Design News recently.
We’ve collected photos of lithium-ion battery applications from the past five years. From electric cars and hybrids to laptops and grid storage applications, they demonstrate the impact lithium battery chemistries have had.
Click the image below to start the slideshow.
Engineers of Nissan’s Leaf, which made its debut in 2010, wanted their car to have a battery that wouldn’t clog up valuable rear-seat space. Instead of placing the lithium-ion batteries in the back seat and trunk, they created a 24-kWh pack that resides under the floor. (Source: Nissan)
Envia Systems is doing a great job in liitium-ion battery development. The electric car industry faces two major challenges: the high cost of batteries and their limited range between charges. Envia Systems, a startup developed a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with an energy density of 400 watt-hours per kilogram, the highest "energy density" known. They claim that once the electric car is fully charged then car can run upto 300 miles.
AnandY, actually the range depends on the weight of the car and the power of the motor.
One of the other issues with batteries is the amount of time to charge them. A large pack like the one you mention, may take hours to charge (unless you have a special charging station). This is just another "problem" to be solved.
Looking at these batteries and their elaborate housings it hits me; how amazing that we can pull enough resources out of the earth to make it all. The resources seem endless, though I know they are not.
That Grid lithium battery must cost a fortune. Do you know the price?
These companies play the prices very close to the vest, Cabe. But if we do a little arithmetic, we can get in the ballpark. A 500-kWh battery at $1,000/kWh would be a half million dollars. If the battery costs are coming in lower, say $500/kWh, it would be $250,000.
There's a great deal of hope surrounding Envia's battery, AnandY. Admittedly, the battery business has a reputation for making big promises and not delivering, but this one has been promising enough to draw support from GM.
I think the safety side of your assertion is the most critical.
Consider that some day someone is going to decide these automobiles should be networked, and include a wifi connection or cell phone data connection in their design.
Then consider that some hacker acting in behalf of a non-state actor, decides to declare war by inserting a virus in automobiles firmware, to overheat the Li-Ion batteries at the 20th annivesry of the 9/11 attacks, causing concurrent massive fires on streets, on hiways, in parking structures, in home garages in most western countries. We then have battery fires, cascading into accidents for moving traffic, compounded by accidents and structure fires beyond our public safety services ability to respond.
Consider what happens if this same non-state actor targeted cell phones and portable computers with Li-Ion batteries at the same time.
Li-Ion batteries are bombs, with microprocessor controlled triggers.
Charles, I really enjoyed the slideshow of the various lithium-ion battery designs. We have definitely come a long way from the carbon-zinc battery. There's a lot of embedded intelligence in these designs to regulate the batteries output voltage and current under various electrical loads. The last battery slide, I believe it was Bak, looks pretty radical. Again, thanks for taking us on this tour of lithium-ion battery technology. Again, great slides!!!
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