It is evident that electric vehicles are going to be future. Germany has its eyes on one million electric vehicles in the country by 2020 and achieving 50 per cent electric car sales in another ten years. The global emission norms are getting meaner by the day and slowly hybrid engines will become mandatory to meet the norms, if not fully electric. All of this can be achieved with technology in different realms of electric cars and we start with the most important one – battery technology.
Batteries for EVs are like the fuel tanks for normal cars and much more. The primary job of batteries is to store electricity and dispense it whenever needed. It started with lead acid batteries for electric cars that belonged to the ‘Early Days’. Lead acid batteries were almost four decades old by then and had evolved to be fit for automotive usage. Lead acid batteries are very cheap to build and reliable but have one big limiting factor – weight. In the first half of the 20th century, where car weight did not bother much unless you were racing, lead acid batteries were the best fit.
Though nickel-cadmium batteries had been invented at the turn of the 19th century, but found their first real commercial application in the 60s. The nickel cadmium batteries were lighter than the lead acid ones and could be recharged much faster. It wasn’t until the 90s that the lithium batteries started gaining momentum in electric car application. The first India-bred EV, the erstwhile Maini group owned Reva, also started out with lead-acid batteries to keep the price tag in check. It was only 2009, when the much powerful and lighter lithium-ion batteries were employed in the Reva L-ion model.
Lithium-ion batteries are now the latest in terms of battery technology with the lithium-polymer allowing car makers to build batteries in the shape and size that they want without compromising on its performance. In latest news, the new 100KwH battery pack on a Tesla is making it almost as fast as the Veyron. So, for electric cars to beat the ICE cars at their game, the battery technology will be instrumental.