Battery Technology Forecast

So I’ve been reading more and more research on batteries lately and I’ve come up with what I think are some reasonable estimates on the different types of technologies and when we’ll see them and what they mean.

(sorry for the poor formatting of the table, this WP theme is really narrow)

Technology Energy Density (Wh/kg) Power Density (W/kg) First Production First in Cars Implications
First-Gen Tech 100-125 900 2008 2010 These are the batteries the Volt & Leaf launched with. Some more recent EVs have slightly better tech (Teslas, new Fords, RAV4 EV, etc)
Silicon Anodes 200-300 1500 2013 2014 The first significant boost to Li-Ion batteries since the electrification of the vehicle started in 2010. EV range will increase to about 125-150 miles, from 75 today.
Layered Manganese Cathode 400-500 1200 2015 2017 The second major boost, this will push EVs to 200 miles of range. Prices come down enough that two car households will now start buying an EV to replace one of their gasoline cars.
Lithium-Sulfur 600-750 2000 2018 2020 EV range increases to almost 300 miles, enough to alleviate range anxiety for most drivers. Fast-charge systems between cities are robust enough to support long distance driving east of the Mississippi and along the west coast.
Lithium Air 1000 500 2020 2022 The low power density relegates this technology to grid backup at first, but after a while is improved to work in pure EVs (wont work in plug-in models). 400-500 mile range EVs become common with this technology.

Don’t hold me to this, no one can really predict the future. This is all based on how I see things going. The next 18 months or so will tell – can companies start to deliver on their promises of silicon anode batteries that have good enough cycle life for use in an electric car. If they can then we start to see larger gains in battery tech – instead of an 8-10% gain in energy density per year, we see closer to 20% per year.

One thought on “Battery Technology Forecast”

  1. Right now,
    Boston Power has batteries with a 490Wh/L total volumetric energy density and 207Wh/kg total gravimetric energy density

    Envia claims 400Wh/kg ; 45Ah cells

    Tesla Motors: 191Wh/kg

    CalBattery licenses Argonne silicon-graphene material for high-energy Li-ion batteries; targeting commercial availability in 2014
    Energy density of between 100-180 Wh/kg and a specific anode capacity of 325 mAh/g

    Latest research shows: Sodium ion sulphur battery:
    550 mAhg-1 and an expected theoretical energy density of 550 Wh kg-1.

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