By on August 10, 2010

Range anxiety. The performance angst and penis envy of the new millennium. So you want to be nice to the planet. You no longer want to desecrate dead dinosaurs. You want to plug in and tune out.

But you also want visit grandpa and grandma who live 150 miles away, and you don’t want to overstay your welcome with an orange cord dangling out of the window. What to do? It’s so simple, that we wonder why nobody has thought of it:

We need better batteries! The New Millennium Batteries so to speak. The Nikkei [sub] comes with the glad tidings that Japanese battery and materials manufacturers are working their tushes off to bolster the performance of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.

  • Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings unit has developed technology for speeding up recharging. Holes in insulating materials and natural graphite, result in recharges that are 50 percent faster. Even with the standard household electricity of 110 volts, recharge time drops from 15 hours to a mere 10. A 30-minute recharge promises 100km (62miles) of sheer driving pleasure.
  • Toda Kogyo teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to develop technology for increasing battery capacity by 50 percent through the use of a newly developed composite material for cathodes. An electric vehicle with this technology can run 50 percent farther on a single charge.
  • Zeon Corp. uses rubber as an anode material, something that will be very welcome in colder climes. Even at 14F, the capacity of a recharged battery is still 30 percent better than what you get today. (Don’t ask what it will be below zero.)
  • GS Yuasa, has succeeded in making a high-performing battery that uses lithium iron phosphate as a cathode material. Lithium iron phosphate is cheaper than the rare metals used to date and gives the battery a longer life. The capacity of batteries using conventional manganese materials drops to 68 percent after 1,000 charges. The new GS Yuasa battery will deliver 90 percent. The battery may outlast the car! This  battery also functions normally at minus 22F. (I wonder why they say that …)
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9 Comments on “Japanese Develop Cure For Range Anxiety...”


  • avatar
    twonius

    “ven at 14F, the capacity of a recharged battery is still 30 percent than what you get today” .. I don’t follow.

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    Companies have been bullshitting like this about batteries for 150 years. Look back five years ago, and you will see the same new breakthroughs. None of them made it to market.

    Altairnano in particular is a lesson in how seriously to take these kind of predictions.

    Physics and chemistry rule over the battery world. They are not kind. Improvements in batteries are hard won. They are possible, of course. But don’t count on them.

    In particular, realize that more money for research or, worse yet, to bankroll battery companies is not the answer. The battery industry has been a black pit for money since Thomas Edison’s day. Investors and governments should not pour more money down that hole.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    We need better batteries!

    For sure, but… Please, someone, anyone catch Captain Obvious.

    In any case, it’s nice to see battery technology is improving. However I doesn’t seem like the technologies will converge in a design that is able to get all the features.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2010/08/oregon-unveils-first-quick-charging-station-.html

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Even with the standard household electricity of 110 volts, recharge time drops from 15 hours to a mere 10.”

    This implies either that the recharging efficiency of current batteries is less than 60% (I had read that it was closer to 80%), or that they have violated the laws of physics. 15 hours at 15 amps at 110 volts would be 24.75 KWh, but at 10 hrs it is 16.5. If charging efficiency is 80% you could move almost 20 KWh in 15 hrs, but 10 hrs at 100% can’t be more than 16.5 KWh.

    “A 30-minute recharge promises 100km (62miles) of sheer driving pleasure.”

    30 min, even of 240 V 30 A current gives you a maximum of 3.6 KWh. To go 100 km on that much energy you must be able to get 17.2 mi/KWh.

    Even with a small car, on a down hill that is optimistic.

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      Yeah, something seems a bit fishy.

      Typically lithium ion batteries can do a fast charge to 80% capacity or so, then the remaining 10-20% capacity takes a long time to fully top up. It’s possible they could cut the charge time if the battery stack could accept the full wall power for the full duration of the charge.

      Realistic power usage for a small EV is in the 100-150 wh/mi range. 62 miles would take 6-10 kwh of charge in half an hour. The largest conventional household circuit would be a 240v / 70a circuit, which is pretty unusual .. but barely falls inside that range.

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    One thing that gets me about the “batteries will always suck” and “EVs will never work” arguments is that batteries HAVE gotten much better, and EVs are much more efficient at using energy than combustion engines. Sure, gasoline or diesel carry much more energy than a comparable weight in batteries, but most of that is wasted as heat.

    I still think hybrids are the next practical step, but EVs are slowly starting to work their way to market. Just because it hasn’t happened (outside of Tesla), doesn’t mean that it won’t or can’t.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Not to pick nits, but a drop from 15 hours to 10 is a 33% reduction, not 50%.


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