Batteries For Electric Cars

Electric cars all have to have an energy source. Most commonly, when we talk about electric vehicles, we think of batteries. Of course, fuel cell and hybrids are also electric cars, but they almost always also include at least small battery packs as well.

This makes batteries one of the most important (and currently costly) components of an electric vehicle (EV). So although the future may belong to many different ways of storing power for an electric or alternative vehicle, one thing is certain: they'll all likely need batteries.

Many companies, both old and new, are counting on this. But the going will be slow and hard fought, nearly all agree. Conventional hybrids like the Toyota Prius currently make up only about 2% of overall sales in the U.S. and diesel powertrains still reign supreme in Europe. Even if oil jumps above $200 a barrel, analysts don't think that will skyrocket EV sales anytime soon.

Currently, batteries are the most cost-prohibitive part of an electric car. Analysts believe that when a vehicle's batteries drop below the $350 per kilowatt hour mark, they will be cost competitive with gasoline engines. That assumes people would pay for a vehicle with a substantially shorter range than its gasoline equivalent.

New research says that the market for batteries will remain relatively low even as supply of EV batteries is about to get huge. This would mean price drops and bankruptcies in the industry.

In the mean time, the technology behind various battery storage technologies is gaining ground quickly. Several versions of the lithium-ion option are being researched while currently-available versions are packing more storage than ever.

So we'll likely see batteries for electric cars becoming more and more prolific, but it may be a while before the cars themselves are commonplace.

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