PHOTO CAPTION: ZSW lithium-ion test cells.

The 27-year Electric Car Battery

Germany's Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg develops lithium-ion battery capable of 10,000 complete charge, discharge cycles.

Published: 09-Jun-2013

Scientists at the Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, aka ZSW) in Germany have developed a promising new type of lithium-ion battery. Pictured below are samples in the 18650 format that the ZSW has made; they have a power density of 1,100 W/kg, and after a gruelling 10,000 cycles of completely charging and discharging them, they still held 85% of their original capacity.

This means that an electric car with those batteries could be fully charged every day for about 27.4 years and still be going strong (chances are the rest of the car would need to be replaced before the battery). Large battery cells could also be used to store power from wind and solar systems (unless by then we have grid-scale liquid-metal batteries available more cheaply).

Of course, these are still in the lab and could take a while to be commercialized. But I'm not complaining: That's how it has always been, and always will be. The technology that we're enjoying today was in the lab a few years ago, and back then some people were frustrated that it wasn't available. By the time it is, they're already looking ahead to other things and not appreciating what they have.


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