A future where we see electric vehicles being able to travel for hours upon hours without needing to be charged is set to be more possible thanks to American scientists who have developed new battery technology.
Researchers have created lithium-sulfur batteries that use a unique powdery nanomaterial.
At present electric cars are struggling to take-over the commercial market partly due to how much energy their lithium-ion batteries can store, which puts some potential customers off.
The lithium-sulfur battery could provide an answer to this problem as it can hold four times as much energy than current lithium-ion batteries.
This would enable electric vehicles to drive farther on a single charge as well as being able to store more renewable energy.
Scientist Jie Xiao, of the US Department of Energy, said: “Lithium-sulfur batteries have the potential to power tomorrow’s electric vehicles, but they need to last longer after each charge and be able to be repeatedly recharged.”
“Our metal organic framework may offer a new way to make that happen,” she added.
The researchers developed the batteries by adding the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery’s cathode, an positively charged electrode, to stop lithium-sulfur batteries from failing after very few charges.
Although one hurdle which still needs to be jumped is still increasing the lifespan of the batteries as they can’t be charged as many times as lithium-ion batteries.
It is hoped that the battery advancement will help to convince consumers that electric cars are value for money.
In London, UK, the reluctance to own electric cars can be seen from charging points being unused despite a high cost of installing them.
Across the whole country £16m has been spent on installing the points, with more than half of this money being directed towards London’s charging points.
More than 1,000 of 1,3000 charging points on the city’s streets were not used over a three month period in 2013.
However it has to be remembered that the distance an electric car can travel on one charge is largely dependent on how it is being driven.
For example one Telsa Motors car that runs on an 85kWH battery can travel for 300 if it is constantly travelling at 55mph.
Telsa says on its website that driving range becomes predictable based on routine and driving style.
Image 2 courtesy of DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory