We'll need a historian to tell us for sure, Mirox, but I think the "boosting battery" described in the New York Times piece of 1911 is actually nickel-iron, which is still around today. Its use today is somewhat limited by rechargeable batteries with higher energy density (nickel-iron has a specific energy of around 30-50 Wh/kg). I can say, though, that when I wrote my first electric vehicle story in 1988, Chrysler was using nickel-iron for its experimental electric cars.
25 Wh/kg is the Real Life capacity for the Batteries in OKA NEV ZEV
(4kWh) - 1990's technology but still made in 2012 without any changes.
But unlike the "other" modern technologies that is IT, no extra battery casing, no BMS systems, no cooling or ventilation, just 4 to 6 inch #2 AWG copper wires to interconnect the batteries and 100 A Slow Blow Fuse per pack provides all the interconnection and safety (400 A fuse on the controller).
So the theoretically 10 times more superior claims of Li technology are not there at the final application level in Automotive use when all the extra weight bits and pieces are added to the lot !
For the OKA NEV ZEV
Typical re-charge (power from 120 V AC socket @ 12 V peak is 3.38 kWh per 22 miles)
So we really only use 0.845 of the pack teoretical capacity but that includes the charging loss.
8*$150=$1,200 (today cost; was $90 per 12 V battery in 2003 yet not a single person can expalin why this "old" technology costs MORE and not less 9 years latter - that is why I think any future "lower cost" any technology battery is just a "hype" with no real life data to prove it !!!)
$1,200/22=$54.54 Batterycost per mile of range (we claim 20 miles per charge but 22 miles is about average and some people get up to 32 miles).
Equivalent Gasoline powered vehicle (with double the Hp)
7*7=49 49lbs (fuel + tank)7*40=280mile range(4*7)/280=0.10 fuel cost per mile
$1200/9000=0.1333 per mile battery cost ( batteries last 7 to 9 years during which time average customer drives about 9,000 miles - few went 13,000 to 15,000 and few only 5,000 to 7,000 miles before the battery was not able to deliver the needed range. With exception of 2 batteries all were suitable to be having a second LIFE as automotive starting batteries and some even a THIRD life as Computer UPS units.
Amazing that the Li-ion battery pack is not really all that "lighter" (as per your data) and at a magnitude per mile capability more expensive, with yet to be proven durability (more than 18 to 24 months).
So why would anyone use expensive almost just as heavy technology and pay almost 10 times the cost per mile over the cost of conventional ICE vehicle ???
The smoke and mirrors must really work as PRIUS as a brand was just announced as the #3 in world sales for Q1 2012 !!!
I agree that cell phone and tablet development has not been nearly as fast as it might appear to consumers. Neither has EV battery technology. Check out this article about EV battery technology from The New York Times, November, 1911.
I don't know what the figure for lead-acid is today, but we reported a specific energy of 40-50 Wh/kg in 1998. In 2008, Design News asked battery experts from MIT, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Argonne Labs, the Univ. of Michigan and elsewhere for their estimates of where lead-acid was then. Their estimates averaged out to about 50 Wh/kg. In contrast, we reported the specific energy of lithium-ion as 90 Wh/kg in 1998. In 2010, Nissan reported its Leaf battery at 140 Wh/kg. That's a 55% increase over 12 years, somewhere around 4% per year, I would guess. It's not a Moore's Law-type of rise, but it's still pretty good.
The source is Bill Reinert , national manager of advanced technology vehicles at Toyota. Reinert told us, "If you go 10 to 15 miles all-electric, it's adding an extra $5,000 to $7,500 of cost to your vehicle." Toyota's view is that extra all-electric range adds $500/mile to the overall cost of the vehicle. In his estimate, Reinert included the cost of the battery's cells, cooling systems and structural protection, as well as well as its costs over vehicle life, such as warranties, profit and return on development investment. He's also including the additional costs of other electric car technologies, such as motors and other hardware. The point was that Toyota views a 40-mile range as an additional $20K to the cost of the car.
20 years? "The average increase in the rate of the energy density of secondary batteries has been about 3% in the past 60 years."
First, your practical limit for chemical (as opposed to anti-matter) batteries is the energy limits of the possible chemical bonds of, say 20-40 common elements. (maybe a million chemists have poured over that for the last couple centuries)
Next is the practicality of synthesizing those bonds – while there are chemical energies marginally denser than hydrocarbons, (e.g., metal hydrides) they are inefficient and complex.After 3 billion years of evolutionary experimentation, the most practical energy storage chemistry [for this planet] seems to be hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are 'easy'; as you read this you are likely turning your last sugary soda into hydrocarbons.
Third is the limitation imposed by the battery needing to be composed mostly of inert material.
The physical limit for 'holy grail' (magical?) "super high energy density batteries" is only about >three times<(!) that of present Lithium ion batteries. See link below
"The average increase in the rate of the energy density of secondary batteries has been about 3% in the past 60 years. Obviously, a great breakthrough is needed in order to increase the energy density from the current 210 Wh kg−1 of Li-ion batteries to the ambitious target of 500–700 Wh kg−1 to satisfy application in electrical vehicles. A thermodynamic calculation on the theoretical energy densities of 1172 systems is performed and energy storage mechanisms are discussed, aiming to determine the theoretical and practical limits of storing chemical energy and to screen possible systems. Among all calculated systems, the Li/F2 battery processes the highest energy density and the Li/O2 battery ranks as the second highest, theoretically about ten times higher than current Li-ion batteries. In this paper, energy densities of Li-ion batteries and a comparison of Li, Na, Mg, Al, Zn-based batteries, Li-storage capacities of the electrode materials and conversion reactions for energy storage, in addition to resource and environmental concerns, are analyzed."
I agree with Ratsky. I didn't start reporting on cell phone technology until the early 1990s, but you're certainly right--it was not at all fast development. Most new system concepts, like a PC or cell phone, that require a bunch of other, associated but disparate technologies take years to reach consumer market readiness. The tablet has been one of the slowest ever. I was writing about them in the early 90s, also. At one point, lots of people thought that concept had completely died.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
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