EV makers eye tweaks to lithium-ion batteries

A resurgence in unlikely materials might lead to cheaper EVs, but challenges remain in boosting range and performance. By Freddie Holmes

A complete overhaul of today’s lithium-ion battery packs looks unlikely, but the automotive industry continues to hunt for batteries that charge faster, offer greater range and perform better in harsh climates. Automakers also need batteries that are more durable, safer and less expensive to make.

Special report: Electric vehicle battery technology

Mainstream electric vehicles (EVs) have all used lithium-ion batteries to date. A lithium-ion battery looks like a single unit, but it in fact consists of many individual cells. Within these cells, positively charged lithium ions pass from the cathode and are stored in the anode when the vehicle is recharging. When the battery discharges, energy is removed from the cell, travelling from the anode to the cathode, providing energy that can be used for propulsion.

This architecture has become standard issue for today’s EVs due to a reasonable balance of cost, efficiency, safety and durability. The…