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EV batteries demonstrate 180,000-plus mile lifespan

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December 2, 2008

SAFT battery cells similar to the ones recently tested to 180,000 miles

SAFT battery cells similar to the ones recently tested to 180,000 miles

December 3, 2008 One of the key points critics have leveled at the electric car movement is that any money saved by switching gas stations for the power point will be lost when the battery fades and needs replacing. With battery costs currently still high, this is a valid concern - but how long can a battery pack last? Battery provider Southern California Edison have been testing a lithium-ion battery subpack for two and a half hears now and have demonstrated a life of more than 180,000 miles without significant performance deterioration. Considering that the average American family car does less than 15,000 miles a year, you're looking at well over ten years' service from a battery pack before it needs replacing. Factor in your gas guzzler's scheduled servicing costs (negligible on an electric) and a fuel bill of more than USD$10,000 at today's low gas prices even if you drive a 29mpg small car, and it appears the cost equation is becoming more convincing for electrics.

As automakers work toward putting plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road, Southern California Edison (SCE) recently announced a major milestone in advanced battery performance.

Through ongoing evaluation and tests at its Pomona, Calif.-based Electric Vehicle Technical Center, SCE has demonstrated battery life performance equivalent to more than 180,000 miles in a commercial delivery van with minimal battery deterioration. These batteries could power tomorrow’s plug-in vehicles.

The battery test, conducted in a laboratory setting, uses a Johnson Control-Saft lithium-ion battery subpack that is one-sixth of the actual battery size used in a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The subpack has been tested continuously for two and a half years, and testing continues to monitor the battery’s remarkable performance.

Based on the results achieved with the battery pack, the U.S. Department of Energy has provided SCE with a full-size lithium ion battery and has asked SCE to test and evaluate the battery’s viability for passenger car application.

SCE is conducting the battery test in support of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI’s) evaluation of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The center evaluates all forms of electrodrive technologies for energy use, operating costs, efficiency, reliability, power quality, battery life, system impacts and safety.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
6 Comments

Using a battery pack for ten years seems a long time without trouble, and as you find more and more advantages of the electric car the more it becomes convincing to choose one.

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Ben
18th December, 2008 @ 10:44 am PST

I am impressed with the performance. However, I would like to know environmental conditions associated with the tests. We know that the life of a Li-ion battery deteriorates more quickly with elevated temperatures, and capacity is reduced (temporarily) at cold temperatures. How would these batteries hold up when parked outdoors in LA, Phoenix or Houston during the summer months. How would capacity (miles on a charge) be affected in Minneapolis, Calgary or Quebec in the winter months. We have come a long way, but surely have a long way yet to go.

jrockel
7th January, 2009 @ 05:56 am PST

Yes, jrockel, absolutely true. Battery deterioration in cold/hot temps is not only a factor of battery technology, performance also suffers when heat, lights, air conditioning, wipers, stereo, defrost, electric windows, etc. are used either continuously or frequently. So, particularly in hot/cold temps we still need some form of hybrid power to extend range and provide comfort/safety. Moreover, if we used (for example), a micro turbine, running on E85 or Ethanol (or gasoline/CNG), we could provide complete independence, nearly zero emissions and range of 1500km per vehicle-standard tank of fuel.

I'm not suggesting some old Capstone commercial power supply turbine that has been re-purposed to charge batteries in a car but a really small, properly designed unit that can charge the battery pack in 15 minutes at rest and 30 minutes while underway.

Muraculous
23rd April, 2010 @ 09:01 am PDT

Hitherto the main constraint for the wider usage of Renewables for decentralised energy needs has been quality batteries for storage in developing countries. Ev batteries will fill the need. It is hoped the cost will come down in due course with mass manufacture.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Dr.A.Jagadeesh
24th April, 2010 @ 12:09 am PDT

Southern California Edison have been testing a lithium-ion battery subpack for two and a half hears now and have demonstrated a life of more than 180,000 miles without significant performance deterioration. Considering that the average American family car does less than 15,000 miles a year, you're looking at well over ten years' service from a battery pack before it needs replacing.

I thought this article may be misleading as SOME high density battery types chemically rot - simply over time; so correlating a ten year life span to a laboratory based set of charge / discharge cycles could in fact be completely misleading.

Sure the batteries MAY last 180,000 miles - OVER a time period of 10 years... but they may in fact go for 180,000 miles, when charged, driven and discharged, 24//7, all within a few short years.

Mr Stiffy
29th March, 2011 @ 08:59 pm PDT

Honestly, I can't wait to see SSC come out with their Ultimate Aero EV. My new dream car!

Gargamoth
2nd February, 2012 @ 06:53 pm PST
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