Wednesday, January 02, 2013

STUNNING: Ohio State Researchers Discover Crippling Flaw in Batteries Powering Chevy Volts, Other EVs

Well, slap me on the butt and call me Nancy.

[Researchers at] Ohio State University [raised] new questions about the functional lifetime of a typical lithium-ion battery as used in a hybrid or battery electric vehicle.

A couple of Buckeye engineers found that, over time, a battery's lithium accumulates on the sheet of copper that serves as a "current collector" that transfers energy. With lithium ions traveling between the anode and cathode, lithium was previously thought to collect only on the anode's surface as the battery ages.

The issue of battery life and energy retention has been a major one as automakers offering electric-drive vehicles need to assure potential buyers that the newfangled car's battery life will equal or exceed the timeframe of typical vehicle ownership. General Motors gives an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the batteries in the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in (longer in California), while Nissan has said the battery pack for the all-electric Leaf will have 80 percent capacity after five years and 70 percent after a decade. Nonetheless, Nissan has been getting flak from a group of Leaf owners in Arizona who said their cars' battery capacity was shrinking more quickly than advertised. Perhaps OSU's research will help future electric vehicles avoid similar complaints...

Brainstorm! If you bundled campaign contributions for President Obama and would like to start a "green energy" company, I've got just the thing. Name your company something cool ("Lightbringer" comes to mind) and claim you're going to solve this very problem. The Department of Energy, I'm guessing, would be champing at the bit to send you $100 million or so of the taxpayers' loot.

Hat tip: BadBlue Car News.


K-Bob said...

The people involved in this entire debacle have never dealt with rechargeables before, as far as I can tell.

They always end up being useless after a certain number of charging cycles. That number, whatever it is, will always be substantially lower than the number expected by those who sell the damn things.

There's probably a mathematical function that describes it.

A corollary to this function would be the cost-versus-failure rate of rechargeable energy sources. The unrepairable parts of a $1200.00 battery would gladly give up their lives to save some 59-cent control component from a surge or heat failure.

Reliapundit said...


Anonymous said...

Nice find Nancy!!