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The Imminent Breakthrough Of EV Battery Technology

The 6.7 times cost drop of lithium-ion batteries globally in the last decade is one of the most significant factors influencing adoption. The prices are further expected to fall by 2.4 times between 2020 and 2030

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Electric vehicles are the new gold rush in the automotive industry. While they still have a long way to go before being considered mainstream, there are many reasons to be optimistic about their future. Let’s look into the current state of EV technology, addressing what it will take for EVs to reach mass adoption and how they could impact our daily lives in the coming times.

The increasing popularity of EVs

When it comes to owning an EV, people are more concerned about brandishing an innovation in tech than addressing climate change for the future of our planet. The reality is that most people do not know how their driving habits affect nature. They simply believe that driving an EV on one charge will save them money and reduce their carbon footprint, which is true to a certain extent. However, when looking for an EV with a better range to travel further without recharge or refuelling, good battery technology should be considered before making the decision.

Impact of improvement in battery technology

The current shift to electric vehicles is happening even faster than forecasts predicted. Asia, specifically China, has been controlling 90 per cent of the battery cell production, supplying battery cells for all purposes. This had kept the supply short and the costs high. EVs can have two types of batteries, NAC or NMC, with lithium being common. The high-energy density of these batteries gives them better performance. As GM is experimenting with its cheaper Ultium batteries and other innovations by competitors, the costs are bound to go down.

The 6.7 times cost drop of lithium-ion batteries globally in the last decade is one of the most significant factors influencing adoption. The prices are further expected to fall by 2.4 times between 2020 and 2030. In the broader scope of things, the choice to buy an EV is a great one. 

A better alternative to charging EVs

As battery swapping becomes more common, it could become a cheaper alternative to EV charging stations. This method will also be quicker since there is no need for a charging station and a small amount of electricity is needed to swap the batteries. Battery swapping also allows for greater convenience than charging at stations by preventing an extended halt in the trip. Battery swapping reduces the amount of wasted energy during charging by not having to fill up a depleted battery before driving again. Instead, batteries are only partially charged to save energy and money spent on charging stations around town where most people use them regularly. Using a centralised battery-swapping facility requires less electricity and does not generate emissions compared to traditional gas stations. Therefore, this method of recharging electric vehicles has environmental benefits as well.

Batteries that will last more than the EV’s lifetime

The cost for Li-ion technology has reduced substantially due to increased demand and capital infusion. It's beginning to be comparable in cost with internal combustion engines with the idea of long-life batteries taking ground. But EV manufacturers are not just competing with other EV manufacturers or ICE; they're also competing against hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and hybrid vehicles that also use lithium-ion batteries. 

Getting rid of the range anxiety

An average ICE two-wheeler offers 50-60 km per litre fuel efficiency and electric two-wheelers with higher range capacities are capable of meeting the expectations of the customers. With battery swapping, home and office charging options and removable batteries as an option in the electric two-wheelers, EV two-wheelers will prove to be more economical in the long-term. At the current fuel prices, an EV running cost comes to Rs 0.20 per km as compared to Rs 1.8 per km for an ICE vehicle and makes EVs a more attractive proposition for the customers. 

EV is a sustainable option

As battery technology improves, EVs are becoming more affordable and efficient. Their batteries can be smaller, lighter, more powerful and durable. For example, BYB uses special LFP batteries with better characteristics than traditional lead-acid or other li-ion batteries. The relief from maintenance and enhanced safety are only some of its benefits, while lesser energy density than NAC is a major con. In a few years, we will see a large swathe of EVs on the roads, given that the larger auto industry is conducting much research. The enlarged scope of IT has also triggered some valuable partnerships in the sector, with sodium-ion and solid-state batteries on the radar.

Final Thoughts

The future of electric vehicles is bright. It’s only a matter of time before EVs become the norm for transportation. Public transportation has already gone halfway electric with metros. They are greener, more efficient and less expensive than gas-powered vehicles. It is a natural transition that will occur at the breakeven of its cost-benefit graph. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Magazine 10 Sep 2022

Jeetender Sharma

Jeetender Sharma is the founder and Managing Director of Okinawa Autotech Pvt. Ltd., one of the fastest growing and most disruptive Indian automobile companies producing high-speed e-scooters and bikes.

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