Ownership of an electric vehicle (EV) has grown in popularity as a means of cutting emissions, with EV market share increasing at an astonishing rate. There are presently over 300,000 electric vehicles on the road in the United Kingdom, and Europe will have 1,325,000 electric vans and cars on the road in 2020, up from 550,000 in 2019. Government incentives, such as the UK Government’s landmark strides to decrease emissions by forbidding the trade of internal combustion vehicles by the year 2030, and the involvement that major EV companies like Lucid Motors, Tesla, and NIO have played in evolving the EV from its infancy, has undoubtedly aided this increase in ownership. Continue reading to learn about the technological advancements that will make EV ownership and use more appealing.
Improving Battery Technology Possibilities
To make electric vehicles more appealing, long-lasting, low-cost, and quick-charging batteries are required. The cost of a lithium-ion battery has dropped by over 80 percent since 2010 and automotive batteries are likely to have a long lifespan than ever before, yet this still falls well short of what is required because batteries are still too heavy, expensive, and take too much time to charge.
A New Direction for Solid-State Batteries
Researchers have spent decades trying to exploit the possibilities of solid-state, lithium-metal batteries as a substitute to ordinary lithium-ion batteries; these would contain more energy in same space and charge in a portion of the time. Indeed, Harvard University researchers have invented a lithium-metal solid-state battery which can be ‘discharged a minimum of 10,000 times at such a high current density,’ according to the researchers.
This is a big step forward for the electric vehicle industry since it has the potential to extend the lifetime of EVs to that of their gasoline-powered counterparts (10 to about 15 years, without the necessity to substitute the battery). Because of the high current density, the battery can be fully charged in 20 minutes, making it a significantly lighter and less expensive alternative to gasoline and diesel. More research is needed, however, to make this a realistic alternative, as mass production of such technologies at a cheaper cost than standard batteries is still a long way off.
Aside from battery technical advancements, there is also the difficulty of assuring the EV’s ecological footprint at each stage of its lifecycle. While traditional batteries are commonly recycled, the lithium-ion batteries utilized in electric vehicles are not. Given the EU’s goal of 30 million electric vehicles on European roads by the year 2030, and the fact that only 5% of lithium-ion batteries are now recycled, the topic of what occurs to all the dead batteries begs the question, and allows a recycling business to arise.
Developments in Charging Infrastructure Possibilities
EV charging speeds and range have increased in recent years, but charging infrastructure and battery charge efficiency still need to be improved significantly. Currently, an EV battery receives 100 miles of charge in about 35 minutes and takes around 8 hours to completely charge from zero to full. In comparison to the range and speed with which petrol and diesel vehicles can fill up their tanks, EVs face stiff competition.
Wireless charging, like charging roads, allows Electric Vehicle drivers to charge their vehicles without having to plug them in. Wireless charging is anticipated to grow more widespread as a result of its relative ease of use. The UK government intends to invest more than £40 million in wireless charging technology in the coming years, with trials of the technology for taxis already begun in Nottingham.