One of the problems encountered with rechargeable batteries is that they lose their memory over a period of time. Each time you recharge the battery, its lifespan is a few minutes shorter. This is one of the greatest drawbacks to electric cars. This is considered to be a fatal flaw, as the batteries that power autos are very expensive, usually between $3000 and $8000 USD – more, usually, than a used car is even worth.
However, according to Stanford University, their scientists have discovered a way to extend the lives of batteries. As explained in the MIT Technology Review, Stanford scientists have developed nanostructures that increase the lifespan of lithium-sulfur batteries.
Typically, a lithium-sulfur battery can be recharged about 150 times. But, the Stanford researchers have been able to recharge their batteries over 1000 times will little reduction in storage capacity. According to Yi Cui at Stanford, the batteries still retained 81% of their original capacity after 500 recharges, and had 67% capacity after 1000 recharges. With these types of results, the lifespans of electric vehicles could be extended by several years.
This would make a significant improvement in the number of batteries that are sent to landfills every year. However, for consumers to be willing to buy electric vehicles, there are still other obstacles. The prices of these vehicles, for one thing, are prohibitive to most budgets. In addition, even at 67% capacity, the loss of lifespan is still awfully high for such an expensive and indispensable item.
While there is still work to be done on battery power, renewal, and affordability, these are encouraging improvements. With a longer life-span on electric auto batteries, home charging stations powered by an E-Cat, for instance, will be much more likely and affordable.