Growth of the electric car industry could be accelerated with innovation in lithium-ion batteries, although the market is waiting for technology which is long-lasting, affordable, quick-charging and safe.  

Governments and large battery manufacturing firms in Asia are making huge R&D investments in next-generation battery technology. However, in the US, much of the up-to-date research is being performed at Department of Energy and universities.

The San Francisco Bay Area has emerged as one of the leading centres of battery innovation, with the area home to Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and more than 20 battery companies. 

Less-expensive electric cars are also available in the market but the range is very limited. 

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, said: “The perception of range anxiety is a real challenge for us. People are anxious because it is a double dip – the range is limited, and then if I am stuck, where can I charge?” 

Venkat Srinivasan, a scientist who leads the Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies team at the Berkeley lab, said: “To make a good battery is incredibly hard, and to mass-produce it is even harder.

“If you shoot for one improvement, you usually lose out on something else, and you can’t compromise on safety. If we could double the energy density that would be a huge breakthrough.”