Blog: EV battery technologies and the standardisation challenge
Dave Leggett | 30 July 2010
For all the talk of stimulating demand for electric vehicles many of the challenges ahead remain on the supply-side and tackling high costs, especially early on when the vehicles hit the market with high purchase prices.
Some of you may recall that we covered the EV Battery Tech event that took place in London earlier this year. It confirmed that the technologies are inherently relatively expensive, that there are no easy answers to the development of the batteries themselves and also that much of the future potential for cost cutting lies in the manufacturing process, scaleability and achieving higher volumes.
In particular, there's the need to automate the manufacturing process and make progress with standardising battery cells. In many ways, this could be the key issue for the industry. The commoditisation of the powertrain battery cannot really come soon enough and we're nowhere near that yet.
The VMs and battery suppliers are working alone and together, developing different versions of essentially the same technology. While the technological competition breeds innovation, there is the disadvantage of the lack of standards at the present time; as yet, there is no standardisation in terms of charging technologies and protocols, nor is the size of the battery pack or how they are fitted into vehicles yet done in a standard way. At some point, especially if EV batteries are to be quickly changed at service stations, some standardisation will presumably have to emerge. Today, however, the industry is a long way away from establishing the requisite standards.
These battery technology development issues – and others - are sure to be given a good airing at another EV Battery Tech event that is coming up on September 21-22 at the Detroit Marriott. Looks like a good line-up of speakers.
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