Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) are the way of the future, and as discussed in Parts I & II of All Zero-Emission Vehicles Are Not Created Equal, the batteries utilized in these vehicles have the potential to make or break the environmental intentions of clean energy automotive companies. Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion batteries are currently the most commonly used batteries in ZEVs , but both of these options leave consumers and manufacturers wanting for a more disposable friendly option. Recycling and repurposing, although beneficial, may not be enough to outweigh effectiveness, cost and labor-intensive processes that go along with these methods of disposal .
Few ZEVs on the market today are able to go the distance of a gasoline-powered vehicle, and all ZEVs take much, much longer to charge than filling up a tank. While zero-emission automakers are focused on resolving both issues, some are focused on fixing both with one solution: the battery.
Low range and long charge times can both be traced back to the use of the lithium-ion batteries currently used in ZEVs, but one relatively new battery technology making a name for itself is the solid-state battery.
The simplest explanation of how solid-state batteries differ is that the liquid/gel electrolyte between electrodes (as found in lithium-ion batteries) is replaced with a solid, crystalline electrolyte. Replacing the liquid electrolyte will eliminate the volatility associated with current lithium-ion battery technology, a factor that remains a concern for many people. ZEVs today use sophisticated cooling systems to stabilize the temperature inside battery packs, adding cost, weight and bulk to the vehicles. Solid-state batteries will not require such elaborate cooling systems, bringing down the cost while increasing safety.
“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted,” said John Goodenough, co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery and the man responsible for the more recent development of the solid-state battery.
Solid-state batteries have improved energy density, allowing a ZEV to drive further. They can also be recharged more quickly and more often resulting in a longer life cycle than a lithium-ion battery. According to the Japanese newspaper Chunichi Shimbun by way of Reuters, these new batteries could fully charge up to 10x faster than current lithium-ion battery technology.
These benefits make solid-state batteries seem like the obvious choice for those advancing in the zero-emission market, but the technology is up and coming and as such, takes time. Some automakers remain complacent to slowly wade into the zero-emission “waters” while others are ready to make waves with the most advanced technology already available.
Some automotive developers, like RONN Motor Group, Inc., (RONN) are going a step further than solid-state battery research and development. As an automotive leader with over a decade of hydrogen fuel-cell technology experience, RONN will be offering electric-hydrogen fuel-cell technology on its various transportation platforms, giving consumers the option of a range extender estimated to travel 600+ miles. The range extender, along with the solid-state battery, will simultaneously enhance the RONN platform in distance while enabling the battery to charge through a chemical process when in motion. It uses hydrogen, which is stored on-board, and bonds with atmospheric oxygen to create electricity. No need for an outlet. No need for delay.
The driving experience is about people, and technology advancements should do everything possible to make that experience safe and sustainable without sacrificing style. RONN is passionate about bringing the most current, advanced and dynamic technology to the automotive market. Technology that will change the driving experience for consumers without harming the planet on which we live or the health of those who live here.