Cheaper, Stronger Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles

By Duncan Graham-Rowe in Technology Review, January 4 2010

A British defense technology company, Qinetiq, is testing a new type of lithium-ion battery for hybrids and electric vehicles that could be substantially cheaper and more powerful than existing batteries.

The battery is based on lithium-ion iron-sulfide chemistry, which has a number of advantages over the chemistry of existing batteries, says Gary Mepsted, technical manager for Qinetiq's power sources group. The new battery would cost half as much as existing vehicle batteries and could last longer and recharge more quickly that other lithium batteries. Mepsted says that compared to standard lithium-ion batteries, the new battery has demonstrated about 1.6 times the energy density (which would extend a plug-in electric's range) and a 50 percent higher power density (which would let hybrids charge and discharge more rapidly).

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