Exploring Electric Vehicle Battery Life, Degradation, And Developments

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The average driver in the US travels 29 miles per day according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, however, range anxiety remains an obstacle for consumers.

Range anxiety

The 2012 Nissan Leaf had a range of 106 miles, equivalent to just over three times the average daily drive in the US. The 2018 edition of the Nissan Leaf is expected to have a range of up to 235 miles, a 220% increase on the 2012 model, and therefore range is constantly improving to address consumer concerns.

However, consumers may be more concerned with a shift in behavior. Charging an EV takes time, and unless you have fast in-home charging infrastructure or public charging infrastructure it will remain a barrier. Undoubtedly a point of address to boost EV adoption.

Are lithium-ion batteries the preferred choice?

Most of the EVs today run on lithium-ion batteries, the same technology that powers smartphones and laptops. Lithium-ion batteries have fallen in price by 80% in the last six years, according to McKinsey & Company. However, an EV battery pack are still relatively expensive, Chevy Bolt’s battery pack costs over $15,500 which makes up over 40% of the EV price.

Economies of scale will help drive the cost down further. Tesla’s claims, once the Gigafactory is at full capacity, it will reduce the battery costs a further 35% to $125kWh. Other Manufacturers are following suit with their battery factory, this ramp up in production will be the catalyst in bringing EVs into the market at competitive price points.

Fuel-cells are similar to batteries in that they produce electricity without combustion or emissions. However, like gasoline vehicles, they can run for over 300 miles on one tank, and refuel within minutes. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota announced they are building a renewable hydrogen generation station at the Port of Long Beach that will produce 1.2 tons of the fuel per day and 2.35 megawatts of electricity. While hydrogen fuel-cell is currently operating a fraction of market share, and lithium-ion batteries are the preferred choice, however, a desire exists to explore the opportunities in this technology.

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