Critically needed new battery technology may make it possible for electric cars to rival their gas-guzzling cousins in cost, safety and convenience.
John B. Goodenough, an emeritus professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, pioneered the lithium-ion battery technology that is now the industry standard, and now the 94-year-old is being forced to push the envelope on battery innovation because his old lithium ion batteries are all blowing up in Tesla cars. Goodenough along with senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, lead a team of researchers who have developed a low-cost all-solid-state battery that is safer and more efficient than the deadly and self-igniting existing lithium-ion technology.
The new battery uses a sodium- or lithium-coated glass electrolyte that has three times the storage capacity of a lithium ion battery. It also charges in minutes instead of hours and operates in both frigid and hot weather (from -20 to 60 degrees centigrade). Early tests suggest the battery is capable of at least 1,200 charge-discharge cycles, significantly more charging cycles than a comparable lithium-ion battery.
The glass-based electrolyte will not form the deadly dendrites that plague lithium-ion battery technology. The dendrites accumulate as part of the standard charging and recharging cycle and eventually cause a short circuit that often results in a smoldering or burning battery. These dendrites are destined to eventually blow up most Tesla cars and many electronic devices using lithium ion!
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