‘Huge’ electric car batteries ring alarm bells over range and lithium supplies

Silicon anode technology could be the new frontrunner for electric vehicles and battery charging, with some trials indicating great success.

StoreDot, an Israeli lithium-ion battery development company, have a “100 in five” technology which is capable of charging 100 miles per five minutes of charging, or from 10 percent to 80 percent in 10 minutes.

It can be charged 1,000 times before it degrades to 80 percent of its original performance, far greater longevity than any current battery in vehicles on the market.

This could act as a major breakthrough in battery technology, with carmakers and drivers calling for cheaper, more attainable vehicles.

There has been some criticism of manufacturers, especially in America, for making electric vehicles unbelievably heavy, particularly at a time when some carmakers are struggling to make basic electric cars.

The Rivian R1T is an electric luxury pick-up truck with an official range of 314 miles and has been popular amongst businesses in construction and other related industries.

Despite the impressive range and the ability to tow 11,000 lbs or almost 5,000kg, the vehicle weighs nearly 7,000 lbs (3,152kg).

This can also be seen with the Hummer EV, which comes equipped with a 212kWh battery – which happens to be heavier than a Honda Civic.

Ford CEO Jim Farley commented recently about the growing trend of EVs becoming heavier to boost range and towing capacity.

He said: “I have no idea what’s going on in this industry right now. These batteries are huge.

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“If you have those kinds of batteries, you will not make money. So we’ve got to start talking about the size of batteries for the range, the efficiency,” The Verge reported.

Last month, experts warned that multi-storey parking structures around the UK could be impacted by the increasing number of electric vehicles.

It warned that with a growing amount of electric and hybrid vehicles, the weight of the batteries could cause damage to parking structures given the increased loads.

Chris Wapples, a structural consultant, highlighted how in 1976, the best-selling car – the Mk3 Ford Cortina – has a kerb weight of 980kg and gross weight (with passengers and luggage) of 1,300kg.

He added: “Currently the Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling EV family saloon. Its kerb weight is around 1,800kg (depending on the capacity of the battery) – almost twice as heavy as the Mk3 Cortina,” he told New Civil Engineer.

This comes as one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in the world struck deals with lithium supplies to ensure their electric vehicle goals are met.

Ford announced it would be looking to close a $7billion (£5.64billion) gap with its main rivals to remain competitive and advance its electric vehicle battery technology.

According to the Financial Times, Ford could secure enough lithium for up to almost 1.1 million electric vehicles every year.

Other major carmakers are also racing to invest in lithium, with General Motors pledging $650million (£534million) in funding for Lithium Americas and $200million (£161million) for Livent to secure battery raw materials.

It is hoped this funding will help Ford and other manufacturers make batteries which have a substantial range, but not for the sake of making batteries heavier.

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