Automakers and battery chemists the world over are searching for a solution posed by electric vehicles; how do you store enough electric power to move 3,000+ pounds of automobile while keeping the car affordable? California-based Envia is claiming that their unique lithium-ion battery technology results in a three-fold increase in energy density, while cutting the cost of batteries in half.
According to Envia’s chairman and chief executive Atul Kapadia, their proprietary cathode, anode, and electrolyte technology. The New York Times article does not delve into detail, only noting that Envia uses a maganese-rich powder as the battery cathodes. Many modern batteries use cobalt, aluminum, and other high-value rare-earth metals in their batteries. This drives the cost of batteries to $400 per kWh and beyond.
Envia’s breakthrough claims a cost of just $150 per kWh. Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that a sub $200 per-kWh battery is due for the near future…though I doubt he expected it to be so soon. Envia claims that this is not some experiment, but a working product that could come to market in the next 18 months.
Envia’s research was funded by the venture-capital arm of General Motors, GM Ventures, which may mean that GM would get first dibs on this “breakthrough” technology. This technology could cut the cost of batteries in half, which alone would make EV’s more palatable to a larger segment of the population. But in addition, this technology can store three-times as much energy as current battery pack technology, which could yield as much as 300 miles of driving range.
Imagine, if you will, a Nissan Leaf that cost just $30,000 without government subsidies, while delivering 300 miles of range per-charge. I’m usually skepticial about such “breakthrough” claims, but I figure with all the money going into battery research, somebody is going to “crack the code” of battery technology, as it were. Might that somebody be Envia?
Source: The New York Times