As the world shifts towards cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a promising alternative to traditional gasoline-powered cars. But have you ever wondered what makes an EV battery tick?
At the heart of an EV battery lies a complex system of electrodes, electrolytes, separators, and current collectors, all working together to store and deliver energy to power the vehicle. The choice of materials used in these components can greatly impact the battery’s performance and cost.
While materials like lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and iron phosphate are commonly used in EV batteries, some of these materials can be quite expensive due to their scarcity or high demand. For example, cobalt, which is used to increase the energy density and stability of many lithium-ion batteries, is a particularly expensive and finite resource.
EVs are considered a key ingredient of energy transition and decarbonization efforts. Securing the supply of materials required for the EV revolution is becoming a top priority. Rising prices of these materials is also posing a challenge for EV adoption. EV on average already has higher upfront cost – though can save over the long run, ie, competitive on a total cost of ownership (TCO) basis.
The five most expensive battery metals – Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt, Magnesium and Copper – are in increasing demand from EV and energy storage technologies.
First 4 metals are used to build the cathode, while Copper is used in current conductors/collectors. Cathode accounts for 51% of the Li-ion battery cell and is considered the most important part of the battery, determining performance, longevity and range. Increasing demands, global rush to secure suppliers and supply chain issues have pushed these metal prices up in recent years.
As many countries have planned to phase out conventional or ICE vehicles 🚗 by 2030 to cut carbon emissions 🔥with the large automakers rolling out several new EV models, demand for Lithium Carbonate (which is used for production of Li) will continue to grow.
Despite the challenges posed by these materials, researchers and engineers are continually pushing the boundaries of EV battery technology, seeking to strike the right balance between performance, cost, and sustainability. As we continue to invest in cleaner, more efficient transportation solutions, the role of EV batteries will only become more important in shaping the future of mobility.
So, whether you’re an EV enthusiast, an engineer, or simply someone interested in the latest trends in sustainable energy, it’s worth taking a closer look at the fascinating world of EV batteries!