A company in Britain by the name of Qinetiq’s, claims to have invented a new cheaper and more powerful lithium-ion battery suitable for use in hybrids and electric vehicles. The company also claims that their batteries will also be safer than what is currently being offered.

In a recent article is also states that:

Plug-in electric vehicles need batteries with higher energy densities to extend their range between charges, says Mepsted. And for hybrids, the power density of standard lithium-ion batteries is less than ideal for coping with the rapid charging and discharging that comes with the regenerative braking systems used in hybrids.

Qinetiq’s approach involves making cathodes from lithium-ion iron sulfide instead of the more common lithium-cobalt oxide. Because this chemistry results in two lithium ions for every sulphide, it creates a massive increase in energy density.

Cost is a major issue, says Dahn. “Batteries are about three to five times more expensive than what we want,” he says. But while there are energy and cost advantages to using iron sulfide, it can be problematic to use in manufacturing. “Iron sulfide is stable in air, but when you react it with lithium it loses this stability,” he says.

Qinetiq says it has solved this issue, although the company won’t go into details about how. Based on early estimates, using low volumes of materials, the new batteries should be half the cost of conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries, Mepsted says.

The future should look brighter with cheaper and more powerful batteries becoming available for electric and hybrid vehicles. It should also be interesting to see if the technology can be further improved upon to offer even better batteries in the future. I also posted an article about the abundance of natural gas becoming available here in the U.S. Some are hopeful that natural gas will also be able to be used to power our cars.

Comments welcome.

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