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⚡ "When Will Batteries Take Over?"

Catalyst with Shayle Kann

Photo by Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Lara Pierpoint
Guest: David Schroeder | Chief Technology Officer | Volta Energy Technologies
Category: ⚡ Renewable Energy | Batteries

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[2:20] LP: “Lithium ion batteries, the mainstays of EV powertrains, have dropped dramatically in price. They went down 89% between 2010 and 2020. From pack prices above $1,100 a kilowatt hour down to around $140 a kilowatt hour. But we still need them to get cheaper if we're going to achieve the level of mass adoption that phases out gasoline powered vehicles. They've gotten safer in many respects, but we have a way to go there too. Given that just last August, GM recalled all of the nearly 150,000 Chevy Bolts they have ever made due to 13 EV battery fires. And of course we need to meet these cost and safety targets while improving on the range and charging speed performance across EV types.”

[6:38] DS: “I think we're at the point where [EV batteries] are good enough to be at an inflection point for market adoption. […] Market share globally for EVs doubled last year, it's up to around 9%, which is not huge, but it seems like it's really starting to take off. I don't know if that means that it meets everyone's needs, but at least it meets the needs of a decent sized segment.”

[7:45] DS: “Range anxiety, in my view, […] is a term that should never ever be used. […] I think it really should be looked at as a product deficiency and not as a customer deficiency. I don't think that's helpful. […] I think there's a shortfall in range. I think consumers don't buy vehicles that meet their needs most of the time, or even 90% of the time. They buy a vehicle that meets nearly 100% of their needs. So if we want 100% EV adoption, then products and infrastructure have to be there to enable that.”

[9:44] DS: “There are battery technologies that already enable really high charge rates, but usually you're trading off […] energy density, so you're trading off the ability to make the battery small enough to fit in the vehicle. You're also trading cycle life in many cases […] and cost. […] You can get batteries that can charge at 10 C or even faster. So 10 C would be 10 times its full capacity in an hour. So that would be a six minute 0 to 100% state of charge.”

[19:56] DS: “I think there are a lot of little ways that you can drive costs out of the equation. Things that reduce the energy associated with drying of electrodes reduces the footprint for emissions in the manufacturing process, it also reduces cost. Functional materials that act as both binders and conductivity additives, which are present in the electrodes of lithium ion batteries, replacing two materials with one material, generally gets you a little more energy density, also gets the cost down. So I think it's a combination of all of these different little innovations to ultimately drive it.”

[52:29] DS: “One of the things that's happening as transportation electrifies is the grid and transportation are becoming much more connected than they were. And so we are inherently going to be putting huge amounts of lithium ion on the grid in the form of EVs. And so I think at least for demand response, […] there's some offset to other storage […] that won't be needed, because EVs are going to be all grid connected. I don't think that solves long periods of no wind, no solar, but it certainly has to help for lots of things.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 59 min | 🗓️ 03/17/2022
✅ Time saved: 57 min

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