Monday, July 09, 2018

How Batteries Went from Primitive Power to Global Domination

The technology that’s been in our pocket for decades has moved into cars—and that’s just the start.

Lithium-ion batteries (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
For an energy source that's been around for three decades, the lithium-ion battery is only just hitting its stride.

It’s worked its way up from primitive cellular phones to cameras and laptops before entering everyone’s pockets inside smartphones.  But only now that the electric car has arrived is this energy storage system truly taking off.  The latest proof:  The electric-vehicle boom, which still in its early days, has already replaced gadgets as the world’s biggest source of lithium-ion battery demand.

“We are at an inflection point.  Each year will beat the previous year,” said Ravi Manghani, a Boston-based storage analyst at GTM Research.  “It’s definitely an ‘oh wow’ moment.”

The future of the battery is going to be driven by the car.  Surging demand for lithium-ion batteries, boosted by uptake from automakers, has created efficiencies of scale that have sent prices plummeting.  Last year alone, the price of battery packs fell 24 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  These cost declines, in turn, are encouraging the continued expansion of battery power.  Lithium-ion technology has begun popping up on electrical grids, scooters, ferries, and airplanes—a proliferation that will only accelerate.

Read more at How Batteries Went from Primitive Power to Global Domination

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