This may sound like stale news, but the next-generation lithium-ion battery could come from a Bosch / Yuasa / Mitsubishi partnership.
Various companies and governments have set goals and predictions for the adoption of electric vehicle, but it seems that we’re still somewhat behind on most of these goals. There are at least a couple of different factors that are getting in the way of a wider adoption of electric vehicles, at least two of which have to do with the lithium-ion battery pack.
First, the lithium-ion battery, in spite of being the best-available rechargeable battery technology on the market, is expensive. It goes to reason that, the more range you want to get out of an electric vehicle, the more it costs to put that capacity into the vehicle. In spite of advances, the cost of the lithium-ion battery pack remains a significant portion of the price of the vehicle, and keeps electric vehicles out of the price range of most people looking to buy new cars, even those interested in the technology.
Second, like all rechargeable battery technology, lithium-ion battery weight plays an important role in the range of an electric vehicle. Sure, to get more range out of an electric vehicle, you could pack more battery into it, but then you start running into the law of diminishing returns. For example, the Tesla Model S 85kWh has a range of up to 300 miles. You could add more battery capacity, say 125kWh, but because the Panasonic 18650 lithium-ion battery cells have an energy density of around 200Wh/kg, adding 40kWh or 200kg of additional capacity would actually have zero net effect. The additional weight would actually cancel out any possible additional range.
The three-way joint partnership between Bosch, Yuasa, and Mitsubishi, aims at developing a new lithium-ion battery that solves both of these problems with a lithium-ion battery that’s half the cost to produce and has twice the energy density. Theoretically, that might cut the cost of the Tesla Model S by up to $6,000 and give it a range of up to 600 miles. Bosch estimates that, but 2020, some 12 million electric vehicles will be on the road (practically every company and country has their own predictions), and that this partnership will provide the technology.