New Lithium-ion battery in development, what does this mean for electric cars?

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a lithium-ion battery that recharges 1000 times faster and is 2000 times more powerful than other lithium-ion batteries on the market. From ExtremeTech on Wednesday:

According to the researchers, this is not simply an evolutionary step in battery tech, “It’s a new enabling technology… it breaks the normal paradigms of energy sources. It’s allowing us to do different, new things.”

Combining both power and longevity in a light battery is something engineers have been trying to solve for decades. You can either have a very powerful battery that discharges a lot of power for a few seconds or a battery that provides a low source of power for an extended period of time. The lithium-ion battery that is commonplace in cell phones, laptops, and electric cars  is the best balance scientists have developed thus far that balances these two concerns.

A technical diagram of how a lithium-ion battery works and how the new 3D structure of the battery developed at UI Urbana-Champaign will function. Image from ExtremeTech

Normal lithium-ion batteries are 2-dimensional structures that use lithium ions to move electrons around. A chemical reaction occurs in the battery, making the lithium ions act as sponges for electrons that allow electricity to flow easily through.

This new technology developed at UI creates 3-dimensional structures made of Styrofoam and nickel that allow for more suface area for these chemical reactions. In essence, the researchers have found a new material for the sponge and have made it thicker so that electrons can pass more quickly around the battery. This new technology allows for very rapid charging times and more power to be held by the battery.

This new form of battery has only been developped as a button-sized battery, but the potential implications of a battery with such significant improvements is obvious. Electric cars run entirely off of batteries and the two major downsides to them are the range and the charging time. If technological developments could even improve charging time and range by 5x their current value, it is likely that the electric car would be adopted with less hesitancy than it is now.

Tell us: should we be excited about this development for the future of the electric car?

Full article link: “New lithium-ion battery design that’s 2,000 times more powerful, recharges 1,000 times faster” on ExtremeTech, URL : http://www.extremetech.com/computing/153614-new-lithium-ion-battery-design-thats-2000-times-more-powerful-recharges-1000-times-faster

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