When it comes to the batteries that power electric cars, researchers are charged up to find new alternatives to the lithium ion technology of today.

George Crabtree, Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, says current batteries’ expense and limited storage capacity have kept electric car sales low. Popular electric car models can still take more than ten hours to fully charge on a standard outlet. Plus they have a limited range.

CRABTREE: “Running out of juice is a serious drawback to the present generation of electric cars. So what we need is a battery that costs a lot less, and carries a lot more energy in the same space.”

Crabtree’s team is looking beyond lithium ion batteries for the next generation of energy storage. The goal is to develop a battery with five times the performance at one-fifth the cost within five years.

CRABTREE: “If one could achieve that, then that would be the tipping point that would make electric cars really the choice for a wide segment of the market.”

By making electric cars more competitive in the marketplace, a new battery technology would greatly reduce the pollution from cars and trucks.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
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Joint Center for Energy Storage Research
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Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...