PHOTO CAPTION: Boeing ANA 787 Dreamliner prior to grounding of fleet as investigation into origin of APU battery fire continues.

Electric Car Batteries Safer Than Used in Boeing Dreamliner

Melissa Pistilli explains the differences in various lithium ion battery chemistries used in electric vehicles from that used in Boeing's grounded 787 Dreamliner.

Published: 05-Feb-2013

Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) Dreamliner battery woes are casting a dark shadow on the electric car industry’s reliance on lithium batteries. The safety of lithium-based batteries has been routinely called into question by critics who believe the widespread adoption of the electric car is a Jetsonian fantasy whose time will never come.

Some of those critics have further railed against the use of lithium batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles using the revelation that lithium-cobalt oxide, the type of lithium cell chemistry used in the 787 Dreamliner, is also used in the Tesla Roadster and Model S automobiles. However, most electric car manufacturers have opted to use batteries based on lithium-manganese oxide, and to a lesser degree, lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide and lithium-iron-phosphate chemistries, as laboratory testing shows these are the safest in high-temperature applications. Lithium-manganese batteries may have lower energy density, but compared to lithium-cobalt batteries, they last longer and hold up better when damaged.

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