The race is on to power the next generation of electric cars

July 16, 2014

A major shift from gasoline-powered to affordable electric vehicles feels tantalizingly close, but the battery technology that could make it happen still needs to catch up to its own hype. Although luxury-car maker Tesla is banking on lithium-ion to power future generations of electric vehicles, others are taking a chance on promising new approaches, according an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Alex Scott, a senior editor at C&EN, notes that the all-new Tesla Model S, which can go an impressive 300 miles on one charge, already shows what a lithium-ion battery can do. The catch is that at $80,000, the high-end model is out of reach for most customers. And its battery, which is stored under the floor of the car, is the size of a double mattress and weighs 1,500 pounds. Despite the avid pursuit of many different battery technologies, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told C&EN that lithium-ion remains the top option. The company is confident enough in it to plan on investing $5 billion in a new battery plant that would build battery systems for half a million cars a year for Tesla and other car makers. That's more than the number of electric vehicles currently made each year worldwide.

But lithium-ion isn't the only player out there. Seeing the huge growth potential for , chemical and technology companies are betting heavily on other types of batteries, including sodium-ion, lithium-metal, lithium-sulfur and lithium-air. Although some firms have tested the waters and withdrawn, many are staying in the race.

Explore further: Alcoa and Phinergy show electric car with aluminum-air battery

More information: Chemistry's Electric Opportunity, cen.acs.org/articles/92/i28/Ch … ric-Opportunity.html

Related Stories

Tesla patent describes hybrid battery pack system for EVs

September 23, 2013

(Phys.org) —A Tesla Motors patent application filed earlier this year shows the company's interest in a hybrid battery pack using lithium ion and metal-air batteries. The patent is titled "Electric Vehicle Extended Range ...

Daimler acquires lithium-ion battery maker

April 1, 2014

Automaker Daimler AG is acquiring the remaining shares in a lithium-ion battery cell maker from specialty chemical company Evonik Industries AG as it intensifies its focus on electric cars.

California back in running for Tesla battery plant

May 8, 2014

California is back in the running for a massive battery plant that electric car maker Tesla Motors plans to start building this year, but CEO Elon Musk said the state remains in the "improbable" category for winning the plant ...

Recommended for you

A not-quite-random walk demystifies the algorithm

December 15, 2017

The algorithm is having a cultural moment. Originally a math and computer science term, algorithms are now used to account for everything from military drone strikes and financial market forecasts to Google search results.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.