INTRO: As long as I can remember, I've been obsessed with cars. Growing up in the 60's, there was no shortage of cool new cars to keep up with. In high school in the 70's, I read an article in Popular Mechanics about a car a hobbyist built, with an electric motor, a ton of lead-acid batteries, and a very small jet turbine motor hooked to an electric generator. This was obviously the future. Of course, I also knew Jet Packs were just around the corner.
So I was enthralled to see the Volt being developed, some 40 years after I first saw the idea of an electric car with an on-board generator.
But the Volt and the pure electrics being produced are never going to achieve widespread popularity until two things happen. The price of a battery pack has to come way down, and the energy density of the packs has to go way up. I wasn't holding out much hope for this as most advances in battery tech the last 40 years have only been incremental, not game-changing.
Then I saw the first article in this blog, about the breakthrough at Stanford in 2007, showing the huge potential of Lithium Ion batteries if we could just get silicon to work in place of carbon for the anode. At that point, I started collecting articles about battery breakthroughs, and soon realized many many companies are pursuing this full tilt, and we should actually see huge gains by mid-decade. I present this collection here for your enjoyment.
Please refrain from turning this into a "I hate electric cars" discussion, or a GM bail-out discussion, or a political discussion. Sorry, not interested. This is simply a BATTERY BREAKTHROUGH blog, and any off subject remarks will be removed. Thank you.
Yi Cui’s “breakthrough” in 2007 was what started my interest in this subject. Apparently, the cost of silicon nanotube production was too high. Now he is starting over with graphene encapsulated silicon anodes. Let’s hope he has better luck the second time around.
Graphine cages <– Link
Pretty tempting. But I’ll wait to see what the Tesla 3 looks like next month.