As you’ll see on Mean Green Machines,the ancient (5 years ago,but ancient from a technological standpoint) batteries of PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) to today,new breakthroughs are occurring everyday that are bringing new confidence into the market that electric transportation may indeed be a viable option to our future.The problem with lithium batteries involve several critical downfalls:
1. Heat Management (Exploding Batteries)- The lithium batteries are known to overheat and when this occurs you could see a fire in the range of 1,500 degree Fahrenheit,which is enough to melt through the car and create quite a large crater on the pavement once it falls through.
2. Size – At one time lithium batteries were rather large and heavy.
3. Durability – Due to their expense and possible caustic nature to throw away,consumers would prefer them to have many years of trouble free service.
4. Material and production costs – Inevitably these costs transfer to the consumer and would make tune-up and replacement periods quite costly.
5.Reliability – Because of their volatility and dangerous nature,consumers want to make sure that they are absolutely predictable and reliable.
The new battery design of Superlattice substitutes the typical lithium-ion for a a non-toxic,disposable,cathode material made of manganese,cobalt, nickel and titanium.This combination has shown to increase the miles we can expect from a single charge of a PHEV vehicles battery from 120 miles to over 200.It is also believed to be less toxic,more predictable,less expensive to produce,and will be rather compact in size.
While this is quite a stacked deck against the PHEV vehicle,technology has been slowly chipping away at these downfalls and creating a much more stable product.Currently there are over 8 different lithium battery types being tested for each of these critical areas to find the overall winner that will provide the best compromise for each of these potential downfalls.
The race is on to be the forerunner battery supplier of the upcoming production PHEV’s,such as the Chevy Volt,scheduled to debut in 2010. With this much excitement and technological advancement,we should expect to see quite a bit of improvement over the conventional lithium-ion battery in the next two to three years!Saving the world via a PHEV vehicle will be an expense due to their newness and current production costs,but on a much smaller scale we all can afford to upgrade to a much safer,non-toxic,and better performing energy source.
These eight types are lithium nickel,cobalt/aluminum (NCA),manganese titanium (MNS and MS),lithium nickel,cobalt and manganese (NCM),lithium manganese spinel (LMS), lithium iron phosphate battery (LFP),and lithium titanium (LTO).While many researchers believe that the standard lithium battery offers the best chances for an all around usable battery for automotive applications,other researchers are searching for a new compound mixtures that may offer the same power advantages,while decreasing volatility and increasing its disposable/recyclable nature.One such possibility was recently announced by Superlattice Power Inc.
We are speaking of some of the small electronics batteries (laptops,cellphones,MP3 players,etc.) which are currently being replaced using some of this new technology.It will give us longer times in between charges,more reliability,they will last longer,and will be less toxic to our environment once we throw them away.