Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Lithium-ion

A scanning electron microscope image of the treated graphene oxide paper

While the lithium-ion batteries commonly used in electric cars are capable of storing a fairly large amount of energy, they’re not able to accept or discharge that energy very quickly. That’s why electric vehicles require supercapacitors, to speedily deliver energy when accelerating, or to store it when braking. Recently, however, researchers from New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute created a new anode material, that allows Li-ion batteries to charge and discharge ten times faster than those using regular graphite anodes. It could make EV supercapacitors unnecessary, and vastly shorten the charging time required by electronic devices.  Read More

A newly developed bendable thin-film lithium-ion battery could help bridge the gap to high...

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a promising solid state, thin-film lithium-ion battery that claims the highest energy density ever achieved for a flexible battery. The new design, which showed for the first time that high-performance thin films can be used for flexible batteries, may be commercialized as early as next year.  Read More

Ceramic tiles coated with battery paint and then heat-sealed powered LEDs spelling out 'RI...

While battery technology has come a long way in recent years, it still places constraints on the size and shape of cellphones and other personal electronic devices. Researchers at Rice University are looking to solve this problem by developing a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be painted on virtually any surface ... and early results are promising.  Read More

Tin anode creator Prof. Grant Norton and student, David Mackay

For over 60 years, electrical engineers have been trying to minimize the problem of tin whiskers. Growing on tin-plated electronics, the needle-like structures get up to ten millimeters long, and can cause short circuits. Instead of trying to eliminate them, however, Washington State University’s Prof. Grant Norton has been looking into ways of growing them – albeit in a controlled manner. His research has led to the creation of a tin battery anode, which he claims could triple the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

Hyundai's 80 kW four-seater i-oniq electric sports hatchback picture gallery

Hyundai's 80 kW four-seater i-oniq electric sports hatchback concept rolled out at Salon International de L’Automobile this week, using a range-extending petrol engine to boost the electric-only range of 120 km (75 miles) to beyond 700 km (435 miles) at just 45 g/km of CO2. Big gallery.  Read More

Envia Systems has developed a lithium-ion battery which is claimed to have two to three ti...

This Monday, California-based Envia Systems made an announcement that could mean big things for the mainstream acceptance of electric vehicles. The company claims to have broken the world record for energy density in a rechargeable lithium-ion cell, with an automotive-grade battery that reportedly has a density of 400 watt-hours/kilogram (Wh/kg). Not only is that figure two to three times higher than what is currently possible with commercially-available cells, but Envia also claims that its battery should cost less than half the price of existing li-ion batteries.  Read More

Scientists have created a new type of lithium-ion battery that is said to hold a charge te...

For those of us using smart phones, an all-too-familiar problem is that of a dead battery. The computing power, as well as the multi-purpose abilities of modern-day phones is nothing short of amazing. However, until battery life catches up with the functionality, we're still forced to carry multiple devices. For example, what good is 32GB of memory to store music and movies if it leaves me with a dead phone after an hour or two of my favorite tunes? Even though my phone can easily handle the music and movie abilities of my iPod, I still carry the iPod. I still have a GPS in my car, even though my phone is more than capable. New technology from Northwestern University is aiming to change all that. Engineers there have created an electrode for lithium-ion batteries - the rechargeables commonly found in our devices - that allows them to run ten times longer, while only taking only one-tenth of the time to charge.  Read More

BYD's all-electric e6 hits the market - 87 mph and a range of 190 miles

One of the stars of the Chinese automotive industry is Shenzen-based BYD, which although only sixth largest of the Chinese manufacturers, had the country's top selling individual vehicle last year in the form of the BYD F3 (a Toyota Corolla E120 clone). Now, after substantive testing of its e6 all-electric model in taxi and company fleets, the five-seater 75 kW, 87 mph crossover has gone on sale to the Chinese public, with a (claimed) range of 300 km (186 miles), which would give it the longest range of any EV in the world at present. It also has a smartphone-based information system which seems at least as advanced as anything currently available anywhere.  Read More

A newly-developed gel could make lithium batteries cheaper and more damage-tolerant, and a...

Lithium-ion batteries have certainly been a boon to electronic devices, offering much longer run times than their alkaline counterparts. There is still room for improvement, however. Existing lithium batteries can short circuit, they don't stand up to damage, and they can only be made in a limited variety of shapes. Now, scientists from the University of Leeds have developed a polymer gel that could be used to make lithium batteries with none of those shortcomings - plus, they should be cheaper.  Read More

MIT researchers have further improved the energy density of lithium-air batteries (Image: ...

Last year MIT researchers reported improving the efficiency of lithium-air batteries through the use of electrodes with gold or platinum catalysts. MIT News is now reporting that in a continuation of that work, researchers have been able to further increase the energy storage capacity of lithium-air batteries for a given weight by creating carbon-fiber-based electrodes.  Read More

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