By the beginning of the next decade, a number of developed countries have set a goal to completely abandon sales of cars with internal combustion engines or significantly reduce them. However, the plans do not match the possibilities, writes VentureBeat with reference to Charlotte Hamilton, head of Conamix, a company engaged in research in the field of traction batteries. It is in them that the main snag lies: modern batteries are too expensive, and the development of alternatives is not active enough.
The policy of many European countries, as well as American states, led by California, is aimed at accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. But the authorities do not take into account the fact that there are not enough important elements in the car market for a large—scale coup – namely, cheap enough batteries.
Modern electric cars are either too expensive for the average layman, or offer too low a power reserve, Hamilton notes. It will not be possible to solve the problem by increasing the production of batteries: the cobalt and nickel used in them are becoming more scarce and growing in price. Since March 2022, nickel has risen in price by 70 thousand dollars to about 100 thousand dollars per ton, and the cost continues to grow.
Only new technologies can reduce the cost of traction batteries. According to Hamilton, lithium, silicon, or other super-energy-intensive materials could reduce the cost of the anode part.
Cheaper and more capacious solid-state batteries look promising, which are being tested by many manufacturers but have not yet gained mass popularity. As for the cathode, Conamix is studying the possibility of using sulfur, which, however, is difficult to make work in the right way. The future may lie precisely behind cheap sulfur, Hamilton says, but active testing of cell samples in laboratories is required to achieve the desired efficiency from it.
Earlier, the head of Volkswagen Group Herbert Diess spoke out against a sharp transition to electric vehicles. He said that many countries do not yet have the necessary infrastructure to service “battery-powered” cars, and automakers lack the necessary capacity and resources to produce them.
Source: Venture Beat