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Research into batteries will give electric cars the same range as petrol cars

i-air batteries are a promising opportunity for electric cars. "If we succeed in developing this technology, we are facing the ultimate breakthrough for electric cars, because in practice, the energy density of Li-air batteries will be comparable to that of petrol and diesel, if you take into account that a combustion engine only has an efficiency of around 30 percent," says Tejs Vegge, senior scientist in the Materials Research Division at Risø DTU.

Experts agree: lithium-ion will power EVs for a while

Automotive and battery-industry experts, citing a lack of alternatives, said lithium-ion will be the dominant electric-vehicle battery technology for at least another 15 years.

"We now have lithium-ion and, if you look at the lead times for introducing new technology, I don’t think there will be a new technology for a while," said Uwe Likar, manager advanced engineering planning at Mitsubishi Motor.

Added Jerome Perrin, r&d director at French automaker Renault: "We’ll have lithium ion for another 20 years."

Exclusive Interview with EUROBAT: The battery industry's view on the electrification of cars (part 9)

Westgeest: Internationally, there is a lot of good standardisation work being done for battery management systems and battery cells. For example, IEC for batteries and ISO are collaborating for a joint memorandum on batteries. But the big discussions are around charging protocols and connectors. CENELEC will not set all the standards. It only looks at what needs to be done on European level to help implement the global standards in Europe. 

Exclusive Interview with EUROBAT: The battery industry's view on the electrification of cars (part 8) If you would be asked to formulate a global action plan for a rapid introduction of electric vehicles, what would be your top 3 points on the agenda?

Westgeest: First of all, we need security, in terms of regulations, policy AND investment. Stop-and-go policies and investments that fluctuate with short-term funding will not create a sustainable EV eco-system. The market needs a stable incentive system.

Secondly, we need to educate consumers and raise awareness about the importance of EVs in regards to environment and sustainability.

Exclusive Interview with EUROBAT: The battery industry's view on the electrification of cars (part 7) What are the key areas in battery technology that still need development and improvement from your point of view?

Westgeest: Innovation is needed in Battery Management Systems (BMS) and cell technologies. As I said, there is room for new comers who offer innovation in these fields. They could quickly grab the attention of the market or be swallowed by the bigger companies, but nonetheless BMS and new cell technologies offer opportunities. How do you evaluate the Chinese competition in the market?

Westgeest: The advantage of the Chinese competition is that they have less incumbent systems and China is important to help create the market. But in Europe, we need to stick to reliant and safe products . It is important that Europe holds on to our high level of safety. It is extremely important that the technology is solid.

Exclusive Interview with EUROBAT: The battery industry's view on the electrification of cars (part 6) Seen the impressive sums that are invested into battery companies around the world, how do you evaluate the risk of a “battery bubble”?

Westgeest: I believe that a rich supply in batteries will create more incentive, momentum and enthusiasm to move forward in electrifying transport.There are so many different applications in which batteries are employed, I am certain that the batteries will be put to good use.


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