If an electric car could travel 300 miles on a single charge, and cost just $20,000, would you own one? It may sound crazy, but Envia Systems claims to have developed battery technology to make this possible by 2015. Why is this relevant to General Motors? Because GM dropped $7 million of start-up capital into Envia Systems, and possesses a licensing deal to use the company’s technology in future vehicles.
To understand how it all works, a PhD in chemistry and physics is seemingly required. But the skinny of Envia’s breakthrough comes from pairing a “High Capacity Manganese Rich (HCMR)” cathode with a silicon-carbon nanocomposite anode. The other major battery component, the electrolyte through which the lithium ions pass, has also been modified, and allows for the passing through of higher voltage. The results translate to a power density of 400 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg).
To compare, the batteries within a Tesla Model S are rated at 240 Wh/kg. Envia also claims that the batteries will be priced around $125 per kilowatt-hour. The batteries have gone through independent research by the Electrochemical Power Systems Department at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC).
Just as cell phones from five years ago are considered ancient, so will today’s electric cars, just five years into the future.