Which New Battery Technology Will Take Electric Vehicles to the Finish Line?

17:22 minutes

An electric vehicle charging. Credit: Shutterstock
An electric vehicle charging. Credit: Shutterstock

For the past seven years or so, electric vehicles have been on the rise. Tesla is practically a household name, and it’s not uncommon to see EVs from companies like Nissan, Chevy, and BMW on the road now. That wouldn’t have happened without the lithium ion battery. Right now, lithium ion is the most popular battery type for electric vehicles. It can last up to 200 miles on a single charge, and it’s not too expensive to make, which means EVs are also relatively affordable.

But experts say that lithium ion batteries can only take electric cars so far—both on the road and in the marketplace. Before they can beat more popular combustion engine cars, electric vehicles will need a battery makeover, which is why countless engineers and scientists are searching for the next EV battery.

[The quest to build a better battery for your smartphone is underway.]

So what’s it going to look like? There are dozens of battery chemistries to play with. But how many of them can even approach the success of lithium ion? Electric vehicle advocate and blogger Chelsea Sexton joins George Crabtree, the director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory, to discuss potential successors to the popular lithium ion battery.

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Segment Guests

Chelsea Sexton

Chelsea Sexton is an electric vehicle expert and blogger based in El Segundo, California.

George Crabtree

George Crabtree is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.

Meet the Producer

About Katie Feather

Katie Feather is a producer for Science Friday and the proud mother of two cats, Charleigh and Sadie.

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