New battery packs twice the power for electric cars

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New battery packs twice the power for electric cars

Researchers in Korea have developed a lithium-ion battery that can power an electric car for up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) on one charge, double the distance of current market standards.

The battery has four times the storage capacity and two times the lifespan of existing products, said the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, one of the supporters of the research project, on Tuesday. This means the battery can also be used in smartphones to double their lifespan.

The lithium-ion battery was jointly developed by Eom Gwang-sup, a professor of materials science and engineering at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, and Lee Jung-tae, a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.

The team used new materials that can hold more electricity per weight. They replaced graphite and lithium metal oxide currently used for battery cathodes and anodes with silicon and sulfur.

The new battery can store roughly 500 mAh of electricity per gram compared to 100 to 150 mAh in batteries currently in the market. This means electric cars can drive twice the distance on one charge with the new battery compared to an existing battery of the same weight.

In terms of the battery’s lifespan, the team said the new battery’s performance declines only by 19 percent after 1,500 cycles of charging and discharging. This translates to stable battery usage for four years, based on the assumption that the battery is charged once a day. Stable battery usage means the battery’s performance is maintained at over 80 percent the full capacity.

If the batteries are used in smartphones, users will not have to change phones because of battery deterioration for up to four years, the team said in a statement.

“The developed battery can greatly extend the driving range of electric cars, which is currently at 150 kilometers per charge,” Professor Eom said. “Based on additional research on applied materials, we expect to increase the capacity of the battery by an additional 1.5 times and lifespan by two times [from the already proposed results].”

The research project was conducted with support from the Georgia Institute of Technology. The related paper was published online through Nature Communications, a science journal affiliated with Nature, on Jan. 5.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]
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