Warmed-up lithium-based batteries could make electric vehicles cheaper
- Lithium batteries that operate at a higher temperature could be cheaper and safer than other metal batteries for electric cars.
- LFP batteries typically perform poorly compared with nickel-based ones, but Chao-Yang Wang and his colleagues at Pennsylvania State University have shown that their performance improves if they are warmed up first.
- But Wang and his team have shown that if warmed-up LFP batteries are charged frequently but only partially – which can be done in just 10 minutes – it should be possible for cars with lithium batteries to travel great distances with relatively little inconvenience.
- Although heating LFP batteries will require energy, operating them at a higher temperature brings performance advantages that should outweigh any additional costs, the researchers suggest.
- What’s more, because LFP batteries can operate safely at a higher temperature, there is less need for the battery-cooling technology used alongside nickel-based ones.
These Companies Want to Charge Your Electric Vehicle as You Drive
- Enthusiasm for electric vehicles has long been held back by concerns about battery life, but what if drivers were able to charge their cars while driving?
- Several automotive, utility and infrastructure companies are testing technology that promises to allow electric cars, buses and trucks to charge on the move.
- The process, known as dynamic charging, involves under-road pads that wirelessly transmit electricity to receivers mounted underneath cars and, for some larger vehicles, overhead wires like those used by trams.
- In France, Renault SA has teamed up with Electricite de France SA to test dynamic charging on the streets of Paris.
- In Sweden, trucking giant Scania AB has developed a truck with utility E.ON SE that can be charged overhead and is ready for mass production, while a startup will soon test wirelessly charged buses in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
The Leaders in the Race to Build a Better EV Battery
- The two biggest drawbacks of electric cars—limited range and slow charging—will likely persist until battery makers can solve the dendrite problem.
- That solution will be worth billions, and a range of startups often backed by auto makers are touting their early successes.
- , which for a time last year was worth more than Ford Motor Co. In the human body, dendrites are extensions of nerves that transmit signals among cells.
- In lithium-ion batteries, they are tiny, needlelike deposits of lithium resembling microscopic tree branches.
- They can grow within the batteries, leading to short circuits or even fires.
- Batteries that are in use in cars today require a slower charge, in part because of the risk of dendrite formation.
- A too-fast charge can cause dendrites to build up.
- Because QuantumScape’s batteries appear to have solved the dendrite problem, they can be charged faster.
BMW becomes the latest automaker to shut down its subscription service
- BMW is suspending its two-year-old car subscription service, The Verge has learned.
- Access by BMW was launched in 2018 in Nashville as a pilot project to test out whether customers would want to have access to a fleet of fancy cars but not necessarily own one.
- A Nashville resident who was interested in applying for the subscription service was told that it was going to be defunct by the end of January.
- For $2,000 a month, members could choose between models like the X5 SUV, 4 Series, and 5 Series sedans, including all plug-in hybrid versions.
- For the higher-tier $3,700-a-month fee, they could get M4, M5, or M6 convertibles as well as X5M and X6M SUVs.
- The top-tier $3,700-a-month plan is almost three times the cost of leasing an M5 sedan in the Nashville area (though a lease requires a down payment of $5,724 and doesn’t include insurance and maintenance).
BMW’s Digital Key Plus will let iPhones unlock the iX from a pocket or bag
- At present, only a limited number of iPhones include the U1 chip that offers UWB support.
- The U1 chip was also included on the Apple Watch Series 6, released last year.
- Apple built support for digital car keys into iOS with version 13.6 last year, following its announcement at WWDC 2020.
- MacRumors notes that BMW is currently the only car manufacturer to use the technology, though Business Korea reports that Hyundai has plans to adopt the feature later this year.
- When it announced support for digital car keys in June last year, Apple said it was working on an industry-wide standard that would use its U1 chip.
- In today’s announcement, BMW says it’s working with Apple and the Car Connectivity Consortium to build UWB support into version 3.0 of the Digital Key specification.