What would a ‘forever’ battery for an EV look like? - Hindustan Times

What would a ‘forever’ battery for an EV look like?

ByVishal MathurVishal Mathur
Apr 13, 2024 01:21 PM IST

Companies are working on solid-state batteries that would store more energy, for longer, in a smaller space. They would also never need to be replaced.

It is unlikely that nuclear batteries will be scaled up enough, in the near future, to power larger electric devices, such as vehicles.

Currently, EV batteries need to be replaced every five to eight years. (Pixabay) PREMIUM
Currently, EV batteries need to be replaced every five to eight years. (Pixabay)

In this category, the lithium-ion variants, which tend to lose their ability to store power over time, are being replaced by a different alternative: solid-state ones.

These new batteries replace the liquid electrolyte with a solid one, allowing more energy to be produced and stored in a smaller space. As a result, they charge faster and last longer on a single charge. (The fact that they take up so little room, at little extra cost, could revolutionise phone, laptop and tablet PC design too.)

The solid electrolyte is less flammable and does not overheat as easily. But, these batteries require elements that are increasingly hard-to-source, ecologically devastating, or both, such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite.

In the complex math of species survival, one can account for the fact that they make more use of less power, and that they would not need to be replaced (while today’s EV batteries have to be replaced every five to eight years). This puts them ahead of lithium-ion batteries, studies have found.

QuantumScape, founded in 2010 by a group of former Stanford researchers and now a leader in the solid-state batteries space, is working with companies such as Volkswagen PowerCo (set up by in 2022 to conduct R&D in this space) to fine-tune an EV-friendly variant.

In January, joint tests revealed that a solid-state battery designed for a sedan retained 95% capacity after 1,000 charge cycles, which would mean that a vehicle could be driven 500,000 km and still have barely reduced the battery’s life. That’s about 25 years’ worth of mileage for the average city driver.

“These are very encouraging results,” PowerCo CEO Frank Blome said in a statement.

It could essentially mark the birth of a “forever battery” for the EV.

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