Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

NiMH/Li-on Battery Technology

  1. Sep 9, 2006 #1
    I watched a movie called "Who Killed the Electric Car" and it raised a lot of suspicions although I know a few things were exaggerated and unfounded. They did bring up that Chevron owns the patent to NiMH batteries and will not allow them to be used for a voltage required for fully electric vehicles. As highly educated as you guys are, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the issue. Is battery technology being suppressed? Why haven't batteries advanced much? Why are lithium batteries so expensive? Is it really because the element itself is so expensive? Why haven't we improved their shortcomings (exploding, dead cells after few recharges, etc).

    Can we expect electric and hydrogen storage to be a much higher priority in the near future?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2006 #2
    1. No, it's being pursued more aggessively than any other time in history.
    2. Physical limits of electrochemistry. Look at the period table, lithium is the right answer and you see what they can do.
    3. Processing for safety, pure lithium metal is dangerous so complicated processes are employed to use materials that intercalate the lithium, making it more expensive than the cost of elemental lithium.
    4. They have improved greatly, particularly in regards to safety. In general though there are inevitable tradeoffs, the safer the battery is made either the more expensive it becomes or its performance is comprised in some important ways.
    5. IMO, not until the cost of gasoline becomes prohibitive. We really aren't there yet. Business drives technology development not ethics. When the financial motivation is there it will happen. Stop worrying about it - that accomplishes nothing in any way.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook