Envia Systems, of Newark, CA, announced recently that the company's next-generation rechargeable battery has attained unprecedented results. They've achieved the highest recorded energy density of 400 Watt-hours/kilogram (Wh/kg) with their lithium-ion cell.
What does this mean for us? When it's ready for commercial use, this battery is expected to halve the cost of the battery pack, a giant step towards a 300-mile range electric vehicle. More power, less expensive. The batteries are a major contributor to the price of electric vehicles, approximately 65 percent the car's total cost to manufacture.
From Envia Systems' Press Release:
"Since the inception of Envia, our product team has worked tirelessly and logged over 25 million test channel hours to optimally develop each of the active components of the battery: Envia's proprietary SiC anode, HCMR cathode and EHV electrolyte," said Dr. Sujeet Kumar, Envia Systems co-founder, president & CTO. "Rather than just a proof-of-concept of energy density, I am pleased that our team was successful in actually delivering 400 Wh/kg automotive grade 45 Ah lithium-ion rechargeable cells."
"Envia's new battery technology represents exactly the kind of innovation and breakthroughs that ARPA-E is looking for from the American research and development community," said ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar. "We hope that this low cost and high density battery technology enables wide spread adoption of electric vehicles across the country and around the world."
"In an industry where energy density tends to increase five percent a year, our achievement of more than doubling state-of-art energy density and lowering cost by half is a giant step towards realizing Envia's mission of mass market affordability of a 300-mile electric vehicle," said Envia Systems Chairman and CEO Atul Kapadia.
This is exciting news for any enthusiast for electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt. The more capacity the battery is capable of, simply put, the further the car will travel. According to GM's Chevy Volt FAQ, currently the vehicle has a driving range of 25 to 50 miles on pure electricity stored from an overnight charge. While the outside temperature, terrain, and driving style will still effect current and future battery technologies, the possibility of one day seeing up to a six-times increase in range is definitely something to look forward to.
Of course, it may not hurt to approach with some skepticism. There are many exhilarating claims made in the battery industry, and many don't come about delivering as intended (we here at BatteryMart.com see this even in marketing claims for a simply AA alkaline!). However, if there's a kink somewhere that prevents this technology from coming forth full-force, the lessons learned here would assuredly lead to more breakthroughs in the future. But, for now, let's give credit to Envia for their accomplishments!
If you like any additional reading, please check out these links:
Envia Systems' Website: http://enviasystems.com/
Envia's Press Release: http://enviasystems.com/pdf/Press_Release_400WHK.pdf
Envia's Test Results: http://enviasystems.com/announcement/