More cycles, longer life

Largely thanks to global policies on climate change, more and more manufacturers are adopting electric vehicle (EV) technology as they offer a whole line of products dedicated to zero-emissions mobility.

Harvard scientists create EV-compatible solid state lithium battery image

Unfortunately, their short-range and long recharge times still make consumers think twice before switching to choosing EVs over fossil fuel-powered machines. Also, unlike gas or diesel engines which can last hundreds of thousands of kilometers before requiring an engine overhaul, these EVs will need to have their battery packs replaced in just a few years that will definitely cost a fortune. This could all change soon.

Scientists at Harvard University may have just unlocked the holy grail for batteries. They claim their new design can hold much more juice and at the same time can be charged at only a fraction of the time it takes than current Lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium metal

Harvard scientists create EV-compatible solid state lithium battery image

“A lithium-metal battery is considered the holy grail for battery chemistry because of its high capacity and energy density,” said Xin Li, associate professor of materials science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). “But the stability of these batteries has always been poor.”

Li and his team have designed a stable, lithium-metal, solid-state battery that can be charged and discharged at least 10,000 times, which is far more cycles than have been previously demonstrated at a high current density. The researchers paired the new design with a commercial high energy density cathode material.

According to the scientists, this new battery technology could reach a lifespan of up to 15 years, and could be charged back to full capacity in just 10 to 20 minutes.

“Our research shows that the solid-state battery could be fundamentally different from the commercial liquid electrolyte lithium-ion battery,” said Li. “By studying their fundamental thermodynamics, we can unlock superior performance and harness their abundant opportunities.”

Motorcycle application

Harvard scientists create EV-compatible solid state lithium battery image

Unlike electric cars, e-motorcycles can only hold a small amount of batteries within their dimentions, which also limits their range. For example, Harley-Davidson's Livewire electric motorcycle only has a 153-kilometer range in between charges. That's equivalent to a ride from Luneta to Camiling in Tarlac or about the same range as a 110 cc Honda BeAT. Not to mention that you'll need to plug the Livewire for at least 12 hours to recharge it just to get back.

So, if this new battery technology from Harvard goes into production, motorcycles might be one of the first to take advantage of its benefits.