The only roadblock in the way of electric car development nowadays are batteries. Be them lithium ion, nickel-metal hydride or any other type, batteries are the only thing keeping our polluted world apart from a much cleaner one, with cars that don’t break as often, without oil wars and so on. Good news: batteries will only get cheaper, and it’s not me who’s saying this, but Steven Chu, the U.S. Energy Secretary.
He envisioned that, if a plugin hybrid’s battery that lasts 40 miles had been costing $12,000 in 2008, its price will drop to $3,600 in 2015 and down to $1,500 in 2020. One can only be astonished by these seemingly far and yet so vivid dream-like scenarios, but the fact is that the technologies to make batter batteries already do exist and it’s only a matter of time, investment and advertising before they’re put on real cars driven by ordinary people.
And having Chu saying that in the middle of Detroit – saying that the U.S. should produce its own batteries and stop importing oil – is something really amazing. Crazy thoughts are crossing my mind right now, like electric cars could be cheaper than gasoline ones, or like charging an electric car really taking no longer than filling up a gas tank – and I don’t think this is a pipe dream.
Moreover, Secretary Chu announced the unveiling of a new lab called the Energy Innovation Hub, to study the various types of battery technologies invented to date, and to find out which will ultimately succeed providing our cars a reliable, quick-filling energy storage.
Chu says the new lab will think big, only focusing on technologies that can have immediate applicability (<10 years), not on those that need extensive, decades-long research.