One concern of electric vehicle owners is battery lifespan, which could cost many thousands of dollars to replace, but a new development by Rice University could increase the lifespan of these expensive components.
Rice University researchers have been looking into the electrical and ionic characteristics of vanadium oxide and graphene. While oxides are slow to charge and discharge, the addition of graphene to the mix speed up the process considerably.
In electric vehicles, for example, there is a delicate balance between energy density, Wh/kg, and power density, W/kg, that must be achieved. High Wh/kg batteries may not charge and discharge very fast, but last for many cycles. On the other hand, high W/kg batteries can charge and discharge very fast, like supercapacitors, but don’t have that much capacity and don’t last very long.
Electric vehicles need to have all three of these if they are to be accepted and adopted by more drivers, range, power and lifespan. Rice University researchers have found that ribbons of a hybrid graphene / vanadium oxide material, nanometers wide and micrometers long, could be charged and discharged in under 20 seconds, retaining 90% capacity after more than 1,000 cycles.
If such a technology could be put into production, an electric vehicle like the Tesla Model S could conceivably have a lifespan of 300,000 miles before suffering any range reduction. Additionally, it would charge faster and have more power.