Lithium-Based Batteries Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Reduction in Lithium Prices Have Reduced Overall Cost of Electric Vehicles

In the past recent few years, the manufacturing and consumption of electric cars have escalated, and China will become the nation that would have more than 20% of the global electric cars being purchased. Most of the batteries that are currently being installed in electric cars contain cobalt and nickel, which have the tendency to overhead rapidly and could consequently pose a safety risk. Meanwhile, Lithium-based batteries have the potential to operate safely at higher temperatures.

Lithium-based batteries as a better option

Lithium-based batteries are very cheap, which is useful for the economical manufacturing of electric cars and have been tested to provide satisfactory results in safety testing than other metal components used for batteries to be installed in electric cars.

The nickel batteries that are being used in electric cars manufactured by various automobile firms nowadays are very costly, which further increases the retail price of the vehicle. The cobalt-based batteries contain materials that provide difficulty to source sustainable and are toxic for the environment.

A very economical and safer alternative for electric car batteries is lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which could be a better option for further manufactured electric cars to be sold worldwide. The lithium-based batteries typically perform slightly poorly as compared to nickel-based batteries.  According to research conducted by a group of scientists, including Chao-Yang Wang at the Pennsylvania State University, the performance of lithium-based batteries tends to improve if they are warmed up for a short time before usage.

During the experimental procedure, the team was able to heat up the lithium-based batteries to 60C and sustained the temperature for some time. It was later observed that the lithium-based batteries provided much better performance than the two types of batteries commonly being used for the manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries, based on their normal running and cooler operating temperature.

The lithium-based batteries were able to perform very well as the temperature of 60C, as they are able to generate the least amount of additional heat discharge. The manufacturing firms of electric vehicles are in favor of nickel-based batteries over lithium-based batteries as the batteries containing nickel tends to have a higher energy density. It means that the vehicle would be able to carry the vehicle further when it is charged.

Reduced cost of electric cars

According to the testing done by Wang and his team of colleagues have shown that if the initially warmed-up lithium-based batteries are charged frequently after intervals, but only in partial quantity, which could be easily achieved in under 10 minutes, it would allow the cars contained the lithium-based batteries to travel long distances with very little inconvenience.

This approach for charging the lithium-based batteries are safer than the infrequent but completely full charging of a nickel-containing battery, as the charging time for them is very long and could warm them up to high temperature, which increases the risk of a sudden eruption of fire.

Although the heating process of the lithium-based batteries will require additional energy, their operation at a high-temperature setting has proven to provide more advantages in performance, which outweighs any additional charges.

The lithium-based batteries are able to perform much more safely at high temperature, which consequently would require less amount of battery-cooling technology, which is a major requirement for nickel-based batteries installed in electric cars. This results in the amount of energy required for the entire vehicle and also helps in lower running cost of an electric vehicle overall.

The lithium-based batteries will continue to further drive down the cost of electric cars in the upcoming future, along with improving the facility of fast recharging and safety for the passengers inside the vehicle. Wang, along with his team, is currently helping in forming the partnership of the lithium-based batteries with the electric car manufacturing firms for the usage of these safe to use batteries in their future models of electric vehicles.

The cost of batteries installed in the electric vehicles currently available in the market is the main reason for the high price tag, but the amount has slightly gone down over the past decade and will continue to go down and become more accessible to the mass population. This is due to the fall in the price of lithium-packs as it has fallen down about 89% from 2010 till 2020.

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