Somewhere in the farthest row of the talk radio, a ghost originates in the halls, mumbling bulbs and plastic bags and electric cars that do not start in cold weather. Meanwhile, most automakers are not waiting for the other shoe to fall. They have finally begun to swing into the sparkling green world of personal mobility without emissions, even those who were once engaged in the idea of ”pure diesel”, and a new battery formula is here to help.
Electric car batteries: Good news and better news
Back in 2010, conservative scientists had a lot of fun throwing away GM’s Chevy Volt gas-electric hybrid, among other new electric cars. A good example was Rush Limbaugh, whose eponymous radio program The Rush Limbaugh Show ended last summer after the expert’s death at the age of 70 in February last year.
It’s really hard to argue against a smooth, quiet, reliable, fun to drive car that you could recharge at home instead of having to detour over to a gas station, so the battery area provided an initial focus area for Limbaugh and others. Unfortunately for them, the range has improved over the years and they had to find another place where they could sling mud.
That explains a recording in August 2019 that is still available online at the time of writing, with Limbaugh providing a list of battery complaints about anything but range. Lithuania covers toxic chemicals, recycling problems and cold start problems. It also describes the situation with gas mobiles, so maybe it’s time to take a closer look at conventional recycling of lead batteries before throwing stones at electric cars.
For that matter, if the concern is really about the environment, a more useful approach would be to take advantage of all available options for mass transport, walking, cycling and e-cycling. Especially e-cycling and more e-cycling, even in the suburbs.
Where were we? Oh right, electric car batteries. The good news is that new apps and new vehicle systems pretty much erase the cold start issue if there ever really was much of one. The better news is that global recycling infrastructure is starting to rise.
Even better news on electric car batteries
For some even better news on electric car batteries, check out some of the latest developments in the field of sustainable battery for electric vehicles. It covers improvements in durability and longevity as well as efforts to reduce the use of hazardous or toxic materials, improve recycling technology and focus on supply chains that reduce or eliminate materials originating from conflict zones.
That brings us to the American company Group14 Technologies. Last year, the startup won a $ 3.96 million award through the Energy Department’s new Energy Storage Grand Challenge, based on the potential for widespread, rapid adoption of its proprietary silicon-carbon anode formula.
After receiving the award, Group14 explained that its ‘groundbreaking nanomaterial technology, Scaffold Prime’, is a patented, elegant simple carbon chemistry process that converts ultra-high purity precursors to silicon carbon material, which is then tuned to the ideal electrochemical properties for a given use. ”
But what does it do Mean?
Shorter version: The enhancements offered by Group14’s silicon-carbon technology include easy manufacturing in addition to improved battery performance compared to typical graphite anode batteries or a version thereof.
When Group14 announced the award last year, it mentioned working toward commercialization with its key partner Cabot Corporation in Boston and Farasis in China, Silatronix in Wisconsin and Arkema in France with the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.
It seems that a lot can happen in a year, including the addition of new key partners. Last month, Group14 announced an agreement with the Slovak energy storage company InnoBat, which forms its business model for battery recycling and the use of sustainable materials.
They do not do it just to be cute. In terms of sustainability, members of car buyers have high expectations for electric cars. Buyers, including fleet managers, want to know about life cycle emissions all the way up the supply chain.
In line with that sentiment, Group14’s CEO and co-founder Rick Luebbe explained last month why the company chose the state of Washington for its production facility.
“Two of the biggest reasons we decided to base Group14 in Washington are access to clean electricity as well as the state’s aggressive sustainability initiatives to rapidly decarbonize over the next few decades,” he said. “It is encouraging to see strong public and private support for the development of a local clean energy economy.”
Last gasp for Gasmobiles
The latest news from Group14 confirms that the Energy Energy award is working as intended.
The company reported last week that Farasis Energy found a 25% “energy boost” for its EV batteries made with Group14’s “SCC55” silicon-carbon anodes.
With 25% energy increase, they mean an increase in energy density of 25%, which means increased battery life without loss of performance.
For those of you who keep scores at home, Farasis CTO notes Dr. Keith Kepler that an energy density of 260 Wh / kg is pretty good for electric car batteries. With Group14’s new anode, the expectation is 330 Wh / kg.
Speaking of Farasis, this is where the Volvo connection comes in. Farasis is already partners with Geely, the Chinese company that some time ago bought the end of the car business for car manufacturing (trucks and buses are made by Volvo Group, a separate company).
The Volvo connection is important because Volvo cars were previously known for their use of diesel engines, back in the days when “pure diesel” was supposed to be a thing. Then the company was hit by the diesel emissions scandal that was part of Volkswagen during the Obama presidency, and now it looks like it will come after the next generation of car buyers with technology that is truly clean.
Mercedes could be one step ahead of Volvo in the diesel-to-EV switch. Farasis also has a relationship with Daimler, which has been protecting the Mercedes-Benz name since the 1920s.
It can not be a moment too early for Mercedes to drop its diesel engines in the dustbin of history. The carmaker is among those suffering from the consequences of the diesel scandal and it is currently facing a new lawsuit from a consumer group on the matter.
Last summer, Mercedes took steps to restore its brand reputation with a splashy new EV message with battery that could reach 600 miles, which should put all that talk of range anxiety on permanent vacation.
However, Mercedes does not take anything for granted. Simultaneously with its EV announcement, the company also got Shell (yes, Shell) to help strengthen its plans to build the EV charging station network.
Follow me on Twitter @TinaMCasey.
Image: New anodes for EV batteries with permission from Group14 Technologies.
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