Posting in Design
Envia CEO Atul Kapadia says the startup has made a breakthrough in lithium-ion technology. The upshot? Electric vehicles that cost $30,000 -- a price point within reach of the average consumer.
Envia Systems, a battery startup backed by GM's venture unit and other investors, says it's made a breakthrough in lithium-ion technology that could dramatically cut the price of a 300-mile range electric vehicle.
Envia's next-generation rechargeable battery has achieved the highest record energy density of 400 watt-hour/kilogram for a rechargeable lithium-ion cell. The industry standard for EV batteries is around 125 watt-hours/kilogram and costs upwards of $250 to $350 per kilowatt-hour to operate, Envia CEO Atul Kapadia told me in an interview. Envia has developed a battery that can deliver 2.5 times more energy than what's currently in electric vehicles at a projected cost of $150 per kWh, Kapadia said.
The Electrochemical Power Systems Department at the Naval Surface Warefare Center tested the next-gen battery under the sponsorship of the Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy -- the same government agency that has provided $4 million in seed money to Envia.
California-based Envia was able to increase the energy density and slash the battery cost by tackling the components of a lithium-ion battery. A battery contains an anode on one side and a cathode on the other. An electrolyte, essentially the courier that moves ions between the electrodes when charging and discharging, sits in the middle.
Envia developed a low-cost cathode material using inexpensive materials including manganese. It also designed a silicon-carbon anode and a high-voltage electrolyte, Kapadia said. All of these innovations resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the cost of battery packs used in 300-mile range electric vehicles. The upshot? An electric vehicle for around $30,000 -- a price that's more closely in line with gasoline-powered cars and within reach of the average consumer.
Envia isn't relying on economies of scale to reduce its manufacturing costs, Kapadia said. The $150 per kWh is achievable today, not once it becomes a large-scale manufacturer, he said. Instead, the company delivers its technology via partnerships with automakers. Kapadia wouldn't give names, but he did say the company's customers include automakers in Japan, Korea and the United States.
The components of the battery cell are being evaluated by various automakers -- a process that can take several years. Kapadia says he expects the components of the battery to be commercialized in a couple of years.
Photo: Envia Systems
Feb 28, 2012
But no one seems to be interested. Is it because there is so much investment still in the 'traditional' car industries, that they want to get all they can before they switch to the alternatives? That's good for them but not for the environment, and ultimately not good for the consumers either.
Cars have been getting more expensive since I bought my first car 1969 for $1,995 plus destination charges! Try buying a new car today for that price. The average price of a car in the U.S. was around $28,400 in 2010. A battery powered car that could accommodate the average driver's commute would be a great advance in technology, and a car that could reach 300 miles on one charge would be exceptional. Bring this on. We need to dump as much oil use as possible. This oil price roller coaster we all ride is bleeding our economy (and the world economy) dry.
- - An electric vehicle for around $30,000 ??? a price that???s more closely in line with gasoline-powered cars and within reach of the average consumer. - - The average US consumer would love any dependable car costing close to $10,000. To say $30,000 is within reach of the average consumer is a demonstration of how out of touch this person is with reality.
...it's a more competitive price, so more of them will sell. There could be cheaper models with less range, too - how much would one with 150-mile range cost? Anyway, they will likely sell much larger numbers than with batteries in use now, leading to economies of scale that will bring the price down even more. This could be the tipping point to mass adoption of EVs - if these batteries are as good as claimed.