Calif. firm shows new battery technology

March 6, 2012 at 7:20 PM

NEWARK, Calif., March 6 (UPI) -- A California startup company says its electric-vehicle batteries will provide longer range, a longer overall life, and are affordable, quick-charging and safe.

Envia Systems in Newark, Calif., says its rechargeable lithium-ion battery has an "energy density" of 400 watt-hours per kilogram, the highest energy density known, the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday.

When ready for commercial use the 400 Wh/kg battery, with a range of 300 miles and a cost of about $25,000, will bring down the price of electric vehicles and make them more affordable for mainstream consumers, the company said.

Low-cost, high-energy density batteries have been the Holy Grail of electric vehicle research, experts say, and while battery costs will come down with volume manufacturing, energy density has been a much harder goal to achieve.

"Rather than just a proof-of-concept of energy density, I am pleased that our team was successful in actually delivering 400 Wh/kg automotive grade 45 Amp-hour lithium-ion rechargeable cells," Sujeet Kumar, Envia's co-founder and CTO, said in a statement.

While some in the industry look to move "beyond lithium" and work with new materials, many expect lithium-ion batteries to remain dominant for electric vehicles in the coming decades.

"The rumors of the demise of lithium-ion batteries were greatly exaggerated," Envia Chief Executive Officer Atul Kapadia said.

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