Five questions to understand the challenges of the electric vehicle – Science et Avenir

This article is taken from the monthly journal Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche #909 of November 2022.

1. Can batteries be upgraded?

Price, performance, range… The battery determines the performance of an electric vehicle. Improvement of this element is necessary, starting with modern technologies. The German institute Fraunhofer IKTS has succeeded in applying the bipolar principle to a lithium-ion battery. The cells overlap (and no longer align), eliminating the need for membranes and placing more cells in less space with less weight. In the long term, the goal is to do without lithium, which is expensive and available in limited quantities. University research is interested in calcium, magnesium or sodium to replace it. The University of Michigan (USA) is working on a lithium-sulphur battery that guarantees the same performance after 1000 charge/discharge cycles and offers five times the energy density. In so-called solid batteries, the liquid electrolyte disappears, resulting in increased safety, energy density, recharge rate, size and weight (see S. and A. No. 908). The last step may be a quantum battery (and its principle of superabsorption: the larger the battery, the faster it charges) with a “full” in a few minutes and a range of a million kilometers … in theory!

2. How to produce and recycle batteries in an environmentally friendly way?

To make electricity a sustainable solution, batteries must be produced in an environmentally friendly manner and be recyclable.

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