Having lithium batteries operating at high temperatures would change the face of the electric vehicles industry. It would mean more affordability and safety. The current ones are working, but one can’t turn a blind eye to their disadvantages given that they have shortcomings. It is no secret that some of their components include cobalt and nickel. These components aren’t saints in various ways. For instance, nickel increases the chances of the batteries overheating, which jeopardizes one’s safety. Equally important, the components are relatively expensive, explaining why the batteries’ price is also high. To add insult to injury, cobalt is toxic and also not readily available. In fact, its sources are unsustainable.
Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel since there are high chances of a better alternative, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. How can they be the better option when their performance leaves a lot to be desired? That’s a good question, but you will be surprised to learn that it has a positive side. First of all, in comparison with the current electric vehicles, they are relatively cheap and safe. Equally important, all you have to do is to warm it up, and its performance will be almost if not at par with its counterpart.
That’s according to some people from the Pennsylvania State University, including Chao Yang Wang. He and his team heated the LFT batteries until the temperature was at 60 degrees Celsius. Then, they ensured that they maintained the temperature. Interestingly, it made them perform better than two models of nickel-based battering operating in cooler conditions. The reason is at 60 degrees, the heat the batteries emit as they discharge relatively low.
For so long, nickel-based batteries have remained the better alternative to LEP among electric vehicle manufacturers. After all, they have an impressive energy density, which increases their drive range. However, that is something that a warmed-up LEP battery can also handle. As much as it lacks a high energy density, it takes you about 10 minutes to charge them. It also allows you to charge it partially without worrying about warming up and resulting in fires like in the case of their counterparts.
One would argue that the energy used to warm them up means additional cost. However, Wang and his team have illustrated the performance advantage it brings, making it worth every penny. Their introduction into the electric vehicle manufacturing sector also means avoiding the limitations of nickel-based batteries. After all, they are cheap, faster to charge, and safe.