LONDON 03/NOV/2014: A new inexpensive battery that can triple the driving range of electric cars while significantly lowering their cost could reach the market in just over a year, scientists say. The lithium battery, hailed by experts as a game-changing \"killer app\" for the global car market, can also double the running life of a smartphone or a laptop, said Dr Qichao Hu, who developed the device. Hu worked on the device with Donald Sadoway, a battery expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT). Sadoway said its impact on the cost and performance of an electric car could prove transformational, a newspaper reported.
Batteries in existing electric cars can account for as much as 30 per cent of the cost. They also need temperature control systems to stop them from overheating or catching fire. The new battery operates safely at a wide range of temperatures, which should save costs, said Hu. The battery itself will be about 20 per cent cheaper than existing ones. Independent experts in the US recently confirmed prototype cells in the battery can store more than twice as much energy as conventional cells, the report said.
The main difference between the new battery and existing ones is that it has an ultra-thin metal anode with higher energy density than the graphite and silicon anodes in current batteries, and uses safer electrolyte material. Hu hopes the battery will be in production for consumer electronics in the first half of 2016 and in electric cars by the second half of that year.