As automotive battery technology continues to improve, range anxiety could soon become a thing of the past.
Hayward, California startup Seeo has developed an experimental lithium-ion battery prototype that can reportedly store twice as much energy as the ones carmakers use today. The news comes via the MIT Technology Review.
Using a nanostructured polymer electrolyte called DryLyte, Seeo’s system is entirely solid-state, meaning that there is no gel or liquid component in the polymer at all. The technology is based on materials created by the U.S. Department of Energy, and is also lighter, safer, and more efficient than those found in current EVs.
Company CEO Hal Zarem claims the lithium-ion product could, if commercialized, double the range of modern electric vehicles.
That’s a bold prediction, but given that the average moderately priced EV can only travel about 100 miles before recharging, it could open up the segment to an entirely new market.
Soon, EVs won’t just be for short drives and errand runs. Battery-powered vehicles could be used for family road trips, long commutes, and any other jaunt that passes the triple-digit mark. As for hybrids, if they can travel farther on electric power alone, fuel economy skyrockets.
Furthermore, the efficiency of Seeo’s commodities could cut down the overall size of battery packs considerably, making the vehicles cheaper overall.
Seeo was founded in 2007 “with the goal of creating a new class of high-energy rechargeable lithium-ion batteries,” and recently raised $17 million for R&D with the help of companies like Samsung Ventures and Google.org.
Zarem claims his company’s products can be made with the same manufacturing processes that lithium-ion stacks today, and will start shipping batteries to potential customers in 2015.