Nickel-Lithium: The Next Battery Break Through?
By Bob Difley
As electric vehicle proponents, alternative energy entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists have predicted, the development of better, more efficient batteries will give the electric vehicle (EV) industry the game changing boost it needs to change the way we think about transportation. Battery technology, which produced the successful development of the lithim-ion battery for laptop computers and then in the Tesla sports car, is now about to take the next leap forward with a battery that can be produced at lower prices but with greater capacity, meaning an increased range between charges.
Well, the lower price hasn’t happened yet, but researchers have created a new generation battery by combining Nickel and Lithium to produce a battery that can store more than 3.5 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries..
This is a prime example of the payoff from the money and effort going into the development of smaller, cheaper, safer (the Nickel-Lithium batteries are less prone to burst into flames as some lithium-ion batteries in laptops have), and more powerful batteries that will deliver more miles between charges as the era of the Electrical Vehicle (EV) is knocking at the door.
Other companies are developing the components that will complete the EV. One such company (Proterra) claims to deliver a full charge to lithium batteries in ten minutes, and has produced an all electric bus that also includes a regenerative braking system that they claim will capture 90% of a vehicle’s kinetic energy during braking to put back in the battery.
These new batteries will also be a boon to the several municipalities, including New York and Toronto, have already ordered hybrid/electric and all electric busses, which, lucky for us, are of the size that could be used for RVs. With break-through battery technology we might have taken another step closer to more hybrid/electric and all electric motorhomes, as well as trucks with enough power and range to be practical for towing fivers and trailers.
With these kinds of improvements on the horizon, we may be hearing the last of the negative comments about RVs as “gas hogs” and “gas guzzling behemoths.” Not only that, but the saving in fuel costs and repairs (electric vehicle parts last longer and require less maintenance than fossil fuel engines and drive trains), it is possible to recover a big chunk of the inevitable higher prices of the first electric RVs to hit the streets. And as popularity increases, demand rises, and finally mass production and competition will bring the prices down. The day will come when EV RVs will be priced equivalent to gas and diesel RVs of today, and fuel costs will be a concern of the past.