Insight |

Automotive batteries

Electrified vehicles represent a growing share of the automotive market, increasingly replacing internal combustion engine vehicles. This imposes great demands on energy storage technologies, currently dominated by lithium-ion batteries. Yet, despite tremendous progress in recent decades, lithium ion-powered vehicles still face huge challenges to meet the requirements needed to ease range anxiety and achieve mass market penetration.

This Insight offers a perspective on relevant practical issues for batteries in real automotive applications. It discusses state-of-the-art automobile battery materials and chemistry, production processes and their relationship to product performance, battery safety modelling and simulations, and the suitability of various energy technologies for different transportation markets.

Editorial

Electric motors are replacing combustion engines in vehicles thanks to the tremendous progress in battery development, but issues remain in navigating transportation with battery technologies.

Editorial | | Nature Energy

Q&A

Professor M Stanley Whittingham is a pioneering researcher in the development of lithium-ion batteries at Binghamton University and Kent Snyder leads battery research and development at Ford Motor Company. Nature Energy caught up with both during the Nature Conference on Materials Electrochemistry: Fundamentals and Applications held in China in January 2018.

Q&A | | Nature Energy

Perspective and Reviews

Recent years have seen significant growth of electric vehicles and extensive development of energy storage technologies. This Review evaluates the potential of a series of promising batteries and hydrogen fuel cells in their deployment in automotive electrification.

Review Article | | Nature Energy

The battery manufacturing process significantly affects battery performance. This Review provides an introductory overview of production technologies for automotive batteries and discusses the importance of understanding relationships between the production process and battery performance.

Review Article | | Nature Energy

Further reading

Electrical energy storage is expected to be important for decarbonizing personal transport and enabling highly renewable electricity systems. This study analyses data on 11 storage technologies, constructing experience curves to project future prices, and explores feasible timelines for their economic competitiveness.

Analysis | | Nature Energy

Alternative fuel technologies are crucial to decarbonize transport, but attention has shifted among options over time. This study presents an analysis of media, innovation and funding data for these different options and recommends actions to help move beyond hype to support technology adoption.

Analysis | | Nature Energy

Safety issues have been a long-standing obstacle impeding the large-scale deployment of rechargeable batteries especially for those with organic electrolytes. Here the authors report fire-extinguishing organic electrolytes, which enable long-term cycling Li-ion and Na-ion batteries.

Article | | Nature Energy

Thermal effects on batteries, both due to external variations and internal fluctuations, significantly impact their performance. Ajayan and colleagues survey recent advances in understanding the thermal effects on individual battery components.

Review Article | | Nature Energy

Anionic redox provides extra capacity for battery electrodes, but it is challenging to realize its full potential. Tarascon and colleagues report a record-high reversible capacity of 3.5 electrons per Ir in a Li3IrO4 phase, and discuss the importance of increasing the ratio of oxygen versus transition metal.

Article | | Nature Energy

Aqueous Li-ion batteries have considerably lower energy density than their non-aqueous counterparts. Here the authors report a room-temperature hydrate metal salt electrolyte that, when coupled with a spinel Li4Ti5O12 electrode, displays an energy density of 130 Wh kg−1.

Article | | Nature Energy

Electrode materials with pores generally have high tortuosity, which is detrimental to battery performance. Here the authors develop a magnetic alignment approach that produces battery electrodes with low-tortuosity porosity and high capacity.

Article | | Nature Energy

Electricity storage will benefit from both R&D and deployment policy. This study shows that a dedicated programme of R&D spending in emerging technologies should be developed in parallel to improve safety and reduce overall costs, and in order to maximize the general benefit for the system.

Article | | Nature Energy