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“Game changing” EV battery on the horizon?

August 21, 2012

Yesterday, I posted about failed government investments in the electric vehicle (EV) battery industry; today, in fairness, here is a more hopeful story:  Envia Systems has tested a battery with an energy density of around 400 watt hours per kilogram (wh/kg).  Compare that to the Nissan Leaf’s 79 wh/kg or Tesla’s 121 wh/kg, and it is obviously a substantial upgrade.  While the projected range of 200 miles for the Envia battery is not as good as Tesla’s 250+ miles, the final commercial model is also estimated to be both smaller and cheaper than the massive Tesla component.

On the downside, the battery is still in early stages and will not be ready for installation in actual vehicles for another two to four years.  On a further downside, the news comes from Dan Akerson, CEO of troubled General Motors, a corporation with a reputation for dishonesty over-promising and under-delivering.

The Envia battery, however, is not a GM product.  It is not even solely an Envia product:  “he battery was based on technology licensed from Argonne National Laboratory and in addition to funding from GM’s investment arm, Envia received $4 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for technology research and development. Furthermore, ARPA-E sponsored testing of the battery at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana.”  In other words, the product of multiple government sponsored inputs.  Money well spent, it appears.

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