Rechargeable battery technology development isn’t dead by any means, and still needs plenty of research to perfect and improve it.
There are perhaps billions of people on the planet who have a great idea on how to make something better. Tinkers, inventors, researchers, and scientists have all this in common, but to get an idea out to a wider audience, or to commercialize it, requires a different set of skills.
Sealed lead-acid [SLA] batteries are ubiquitous in the automotive sector, but are too heavy to electrify a vehicle efficiently. Nickel-metal hydride [NiMH] batteries are about twice an energy-dense as SLA batteries, and are often found in hybrid electric vehicles and a couple of early electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles today use lithium-ion [Li-Ion] batteries, a chemistry that is about five times as dense as SLA, and about three times more dense than NiMH.
Still, if electric vehicles are going to find a wider market, they’ll need further development, to increase the energy density and cut costs. CalCharge is working to bring together researchers and business education, to get these ideas into the marketplace. Japan and Asia may have some of the biggest battery innovations in the world of late, but California is proving to be a spawning ground for new battery startups.
Silicon Valley is already known for startups and venture capitalists, and there are now over forty battery companies in the area. About half of the last thirteen battery company startups in the US have been in California as well.
The CalCharge battery business accelerator started last spring, and makes space and lab equipment available to researchers and entrepreneurs, as well as enabling them to collaborate and recruit technical, business, and marketing talent.
Such collaboration can foster more rapid development as well as cut startup costs of the newest battery technology companies. This summer, San José State University will be collaborating with CalCharge to offer a “Battery University” program for the next generation of battery researchers.