How solid-state batteries will change motoring forever
Modern battery tech will change more than just how we power vehicles.
No one should doubt that EVs are here to stay. Unfortunately, the current selection doesn’t suit 100% of people. However, that isn’t a big issue as the current crop would suit almost everyone, and that’s pretty impressive for a technology that is only in its second generation.
Nevertheless, there are still those who would argue that they’d need their vehicle to be able to drive 500+ miles and refill in 5 minutes, right before taking them on a round trip to Mars.
And you’d be right to think that’s ludicrous - until you find out about solid-state batteries. These hold the key to storing a huge amount of energy and rapid charging. This ultimately means that EVs could one day, have a greater range and quicker refuel time than a conventionally fuelled vehicle.
The application of a solid battery is particularly convincing in vehicles, this is due to them being dramatically lighter than lithium-ion batteries. Lower weight brings more miles per kWh, leading to fewer battery cells needed to achieve a required range. This would lower the cost and speed up charge times. It also gets exciting with sports cars, possibly reaching a point where the drivetrain turns out to be lighter, and more powerful than an engine could ever be.
Instead of using battery acid, these use a solid metal to do the same job, in turn making them better in almost every way. Think of it like when solid-state storage found in USB sticks made hard disk drives look temperamental, noisy and cumbersome. This kind of revolution is about to occur again with the development of solid-state batteries.
This isn’t technology that will appear overnight however, it’s still in development, therefore it looks like we won’t see the tech appear until the end of the next decade. There are a few problems to figure out first. For example, solid-state batteries are expensive to manufacturer due to the time it takes to build them. Also, no one really knows how reliable one would be in a car, or what material would be best to replace the battery acid.
Inevitably as with all technology, it’s going to take time, but it’s defiantly possible. If you’d shown a tech engineer an iPhone X just after the original had been released, they’d look as astounded as Marty did after he first laid eyes on the DeLorean.
Manufacturers have shown that they believe it’s more than a pipe dream too. Companies like BMW, VW and Hyundai have invested heavily in American solid-state research companies, while others are racing to develop the technology in-house.
Without the engerering limmitations of a combustion engine, anything is possible. Want a 1,000hp familiy car? Its possable.
All together this means that the EV of 2030 has endless possibilities, without heavy batteries or a large engine in the way, designers will be able to get creative about how they package their vehicles. Front overhangs will be focused on safety and aerodynamics – not just somewhere to put the engine. Cabins will also be more spacious thanks to the flatter batteries and lack of transmission.
Some consumers are hesitant to accept electric vehicles, but the flexibility solid-state batteries offer will be the final nail in the coffin for the internal combustion engine.