What Is An Electric Car Battery And How Does It Work
An electric car battery is an energy accumulator that stores electricity for transmission to an alternating or continuous current engine. However, its importance is far greater than this. The battery is what makes these vehicles sustainable, what releases it from its dependence on fossil fuels. Batteries are at the heart of buyers concerns: the cars range the distance that a vehicle can travel before needing a charge ,its charging time and its price.
The battery world has experienced an unprecedented revolution in the last decade. As a result, the average range of electric cars has increased considerably, terminando así con la denominada range anxiety buyers fear of finding themselves stuck on the roadside due to limited range which had been holding back sales. However, range is not the only area of batteries where progress has been made: charging times have also been improved with rapid charging as fast as ten minutes improving their efficiency and their life cycle.
Q6 Are Electric Greener Than Fossil Fuel Powered Cars
A) An electric car battery is evidently very green, but these plug-in cars still have environmental impacts that could be hazardous for nature and the population.
These electrically powered cars are eco-friendly and greener compared to fuel powered ones. However, they can’t be the ultimate solution as there’s room for more significant improvement.
From Battery Mining To Manufacturing Producing Electric Vehicles Is Extremely Carbon Intensive A Swedish Company Wants To Show It Can Be Done Better
Last October, when Volvo unveiled what it called the worlds first electric vehicle made of fossil-free steel, it underwhelmed some whod been eager for the drop. Though the majority was made from green steelfrom hydrogen power and not coalsome parts of the vehicle were made from traditional steel, including the electric motor.
The rollout suggested that it will take a lot of work before even a single component in a vehicle can be fossil free, and that even the big, legacy car companies are taking slow, incremental steps toward fully decarbonizing.
But one electric motorbike maker isnt going the incremental route. The Swedish company Cake has the ambitious goal to produce an almost entirely fossil-free electric vehicle by 2025, which would be the cleanest of its kind.Though EVs are cleaner in the long run, their production emits far more carbon than its gas counterparts. For Cake, producing the off-road dirt bike will require cutting carbon out of a number of processes, from lithium mining, to transportation, to manufacturing, which will take time and collaboration with various partners. The bike wontand, realistically, cantbe entirely fossil free. Rather, the goal is to share its wins and losses with other players in the transportation industry and show how getting close to zero carbon is ultimately possible.
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What Are Lithium Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are part of advanced battery technology that uses lithium ions as a key component in the workings and electrochemistry of the battery.
Unlike other batteries, lithium-ion batteries are one of the most popular rechargeable batteries, have much higher energy density meaning they can hold much more power than the average battery and they have a long discharge rate which allows them to hold a charge for significantly longer.
Besides appearing in electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries can also be found in small portable devices such as laptops and smartphones, and are frequently used in military and aerospace applications.
Can Electric Car Batteries Be Repurposed
The Nissan Leaf first came to market in 2010. Several months later, Nissan partnered with Sumitomo Corp to set up 4R Energy Corp. Its mission: to develop a way to refabricate, recycle, resell and reuse the batteries in EVs. Rather than selling EV batteries for scrap value, they would be used to power other things.
Over a decade later, some of the original Nissan Leaf batteries are now at their end of their useful life. Batteries are graded A, B or C depending on their condition and usefulness.
A grade batteries may be reused for a new high performance EV battery. B grade batteries may be used to power factory machinery, such as forklifts, or as a sustainable energy storage solution in homes or commercial facilities that use solar energy. Even C grade batteries may be put to use, typically as back-up energy supplies in shops that need a 24hr supply.
According to 4R, this can extend the useful life of an EV battery by up to 15 years.
It wont be long before such circular energy solutions hit the mass-market, either. In 2019, Nissan teased the Nissan Energy ‘Roam’ battery pack, which uses lithium-ion battery cells from first-gen Leaf cars capable of storing up to 700Wh of electricity.
It might not be enough to power an electric vehicle, but when used to store power from a 400W solar panel a Roam battery will easily be able to provide a weeks worth of power for a camper trailer.
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How Much Co2 Is Emitted By Manufacturing Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries are a popular power source for clean technologies like electric vehicles, due to the amount of energy they can store in a small space, charging capabilities, and ability to remain effective after hundreds, or even thousands, of charge cycles. These batteries are a crucial part of current efforts to replace gas-powered cars that emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases. These same capabilities also make these batteries good candidates for energy storage for the electric grid. However, that does come with a cost, as the manufacturing process of the batteries and their components emits CO2, among other environmental and social concerns.
How Do Ev Batteries Degrade
Figure 1: EV Battery Degradation Chart Electrek
While many EV drivers wonder how long does an electric car battery charge last, few of them ask why? The main reason an EV battery needs replacement is that it has most likely degraded beyond 80% of its capacity.
According to researchers at Recurrent, EV batteries lose around 5% to 10% of their capacity after 50,000 miles or a little more. This means batteries degrade 5 10% after the first five years, Figure 1 shows a battery degradation rate for your better understanding.
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Assembly Of Battery Pack
After the battery pack is assembled, it needs to be tested. This can be done by charging and discharging the pack under different conditions. Once the battery pack passes all of the tests, it is ready to be installed in an electric car.
Pro Tip: Now that you know how electric car batteries are made, you can see why they are such an important part of EVs. Without them, the car wouldnât be able to run. So, if you are looking to purchase an EV, make sure to ask about the battery pack and how it was made.
Electric Car Battery Recycling
Many manufacturers are researching how EV batteries can be repurposed once they’ve hit retirement age. One idea that’s proving to work well is repurposing EV batteries to power homes and buildings. However, there are no definitive answers as to what will happen to EV batteries once theyre no longer recyclable.
The time that batteries spend in an EV is often just the beginning of their useful life. Once removed from a car, most batteries will still be fit for other demanding jobs like energy storage in the electricity network, or in the home a growing area of demand.
When batteries do reach the end of their working life, they’ll be recycled, which typically involves separating out valuable materials such as cobalt and lithium salts, stainless steel, copper, aluminium and plastic. At the moment, only about half of the materials in an EV battery pack are recycled, but with EVs expected to undergo an explosion in popularity over the next decade or so, car manufacturers are looking to improve this.
VW recently announced a pilot plant for battery recycling which will work towards a target of recycling 97% of battery components. In this process, batteries will be shredded, dried, then sieved to recover valuable materials that can be used to make new batteries.
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Can Ev Batteries Have A Second Life
There is a debate around a potential second life for these batteries, which would make it possible to extend their use and thereby reduce their environmental impacts. The first issues for this relate to the reconfiguration needed for batteries and their electric monitoring mechanism. Next, applications must be identified for these batteries with reduced capacity. They could be used for energy storage connected to the electricity network, as many experiments have been run in this area.
However, a major player such as RTE, the operator and manager of Frances electricity transmission network, believes that this application is ill-suited, functionally and economically, and recommends recycling EV batteries at the end of their first life instead.
What Is In An Ev Battery
An EV battery is a pack of individual battery cells, each about the size of a AA battery. Those cells are clustered into protective frames called modules, each with its own circuitry, and those modules are clustered together into a pack.
The entire pack is managed by a Battery Management System and a cooling system that regulates the heat and voltage, protects the battery from draining too much or too quickly, and manages the charging and discharging of energy.
EV batteries work by moving lithium ions through a solution called an electrolyte, which carries positively charge ions between separate electrodes called anodes and cathodes. This process creates an electric current that is sent to the EVs motor.
What the electrodes, separators, and electrolytes are made of can vary. Lithium is the indispensable element, of course, but among the most frequently used other components are aluminum, carbon, cobalt, iron, manganese, nickel, oxygen, phosphorus, and silicon. New combinations and chemistries emerge all the time, using other elements like sodium or tin and sulfur.
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Electric Cars: What Will Happen To All The Dead Batteries
The rate at which were growing the industry is absolutely scary, says Paul Anderson from University of Birmingham.
Hes talking about the market for electric cars in Europe.
Its something thats never really been done before at that rate of growth for a completely new product, says Dr Anderson, who is also the co-director of the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials.
While electric vehicles may not emit any carbon dioxide during their working lives, hes concerned about what happens when they run out of road in particular what happens to the batteries.
In 10 to 15 years when there are large numbers coming to the end of their life, its going to be very important that we have a recycling industry, he points out.
While most EV components are much the same as those of conventional cars, the big difference is the battery. While traditional lead-acid batteries are widely recycled, the same cant be said for the lithium-ion versions used in electric cars.
EV batteries are larger and heavier than those in regular cars and are made up of several hundred individual lithium-ion cells, all of which need dismantling. They contain hazardous materials, and have an inconvenient tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly.
Recent proposals from the European Union would see EV suppliers responsible for making sure that their products arent simply dumped at the end of their life, and manufacturers are already starting to step up to the mark.
Electric Car Battery Replacement Cost
When it comes to replacing an electric vehicle battery, you need not be too concerned as many manufacturers provide a warranty of up to 8 years or 100,000 miles. Meaning that even if you did need to replace it in an unfortunate event that something did go wrong, then it could well be covered under this warranty. Remember to always check the type of warranty offered by your chosen electric car manufacturer.
Also, the cost of batteries fell about 80% between 2010 and 2016 according to McKinsey, from $1000 to $227/kWh. Therefore, a new 40kWh battery in 2016 would have cost just shy of £10,000. Some predictions estimate that prices are set to fall below $100/kWh by 2030, around the same time as the government are aiming for 50% of all new vehicles sold in the UK will be electric.
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What Was The Development Of The Batteries And Their Future
And finally for the curious, what was the history of EV batteries?
The first electric cars, which appeared as early as the beginning of the 20th century, used lead batteries for their propulsion. These were easily available and, above all, cheap batteries, that were already very advanced at that time. The main disadvantages of lead batteries are that they should never be discharged below 50% and that regular electrolyte monitoring is required. At the same time they are relatively heavy and they accounted for 25-50% of the total weight of the electric car. The service life of lead batteries was approximately three years.
Like other batteries, the lead battery has a low specific energy compared to gasoline or other fossil fuels. In this case 30-50 Wh/kg. Its normal efficiency is 70-75% and in case of cold weather it decreases even further by up to 40%.
Henney Kilowatt. 1962-1964. Author: Alden Jewell
Later, nickel-metal hydride batteries appeared. They have a better specific energy than lead batteries and, in addition, they were shown to have a very long service life. The battery placed in the first Toyota RAV4 hybrid cars is still functional after more than 160,000 kilometers and more than 10 years.
Electric car Volta 1963. Author: Alden Jewell
What Are The Environmental Impacts
The question of the environmental impacts of battery manufacturing is perhaps even more important. Even if there are enough materials, the impacts of their use must be seriously considered.
Studies show that battery manufacturing can have serious impacts in terms of human toxicity or ecosystem pollution. On top of this is the need to monitor labour conditions in certain countries. Furthermore, analysing environmental impacts requires full knowledge of battery composition and manufacturing processes, but this information is difficult to obtain for obvious reasons related to industrial property.
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Where Does Cobalt For Batteries Come From
The majority of the worldâs cobalt reserves are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . In fact, about 60% of the worldâs cobalt comes from this central African country. Cobalt is also found in other countries, including Russia, Australia, Canada, and Brazil. Moreover, like Lithium, cobalt is also recycled from old and secondary used EV batteries.
Cleanrooms & Electric Vehicle Batteries
At the end of the day, when the battery can no longer power the car, the lithium allows it to still be used as energy storage elsewhere. Thats the power of lithium, although the mining practices need work to be considered environmentally friendly.
So what do you think? With mining and manufacturing practices in mind, is lithium batteries still worth it in electric vehicles?What we know is that the production of electric vehicles batteries along with thousands of other everyday essentials are produced in cleanrooms to prevent contamination, protect the consumer, and save the manufacturer from incurring the costs of contamination. These are costs like lost productivity, product recalls, damaged reputation, and more.
Do you want to know more about how cleanrooms impact our everyday lives? Check out our Knowledge Center! Weve broken down all the information you need to know about cleanrooms, particle counters, and more into digestible information. Every day, we rely on cleanrooms but dont even realize it.
So why not learn more about how this industry impacts your life and business? Learn more in our free Knowledge Center today!
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The Cons Of Electric Cars On The Environment
Myth: Ev Batteries Are Just As Bad For The Environment As Gas Cars
There isnt really a clear-cut true-or-false narrative when it comes to answering this question.
Most of the current battery chemistry relies on lithium and cobalt. Lithium is commonly mined out of the earth in huge pits or extracted by pumping a brine solution into a bore hole and evaporating the solution in sprawling above-ground ponds. Neither option is environmentally friendly.
Such lithium mining projects represent a challenge for environmentalists because they carry the promise of decarbonization in exchange for heavy impacts on ecosystems and local communities.
FILE – Brine evaporation pools at Liex’s 3Q lithium mine project near Fiambala, Catamarca province, Argentina, on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.
The big challenge is making sure lithium mines are located in places where they do the least amount of damage, said Lisa Belenky, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.
“It really is very site specific as far as what impacts it would have to the local species, water,” Belenky said. “Almost every energy project we look at for climate change has its own greenhouse gas footprint.”
Cobalt is also an essential element in the rechargeable lithium batteries that fuel many electronic devices. The rise of smartphones in the past 20 years has created a large demand for the metal, and the growing popularity of electric cars is expected to further increase demand.
But, like in any economy, when there is demand, there is innovation.
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