Which type of battery is best for electric cars?
As we all know, the electric car is an automotive vehicle which is propelled by an electric motor. This electric motor generally utilises energy stored in rechargeable batteries. It is a comparatively recent invention and it was created in response to the urgent need for eco-friendly vehicles which are less dependent on fossil fuels, easy on the atmosphere and which are less likely to pollute the environment. Air pollution is a huge hazard in today’s world. The last decade has seen huge strides in the development of this revolutionary vehicle.
Companies which manufacture electric cars include Ford, BMW, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Nissan, Mitsubishi. Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and Tesla.
Lead Acid Batteries and Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries (NiMH) for Electric Vehicles
Unlike the hybrid cars, which depend on engines to generate their own electricity, electric cars are dependent on their batteries. There have been several types of batteries used in electric cars till date. Originally, lead acid batteries and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries were used. These would have been used in the original electric car models, when they were first developed.
Lead acid batteries were considered a good option as they were relatively inexpensive and rechargeable. However, they are now considered to be energy poor as compared with other battery types and have now become obsolete for electric cars.
Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries have twice the energy of the lead acid batteries, which makes them more efficient than the lead acid batteries. However, they have been known to charge rather slowly in comparison with the lead acid battery. Also they tend to work less efficiently in hotter environments. So realistically, the day of the lead acid battery and NiMH battery in the electric vehicle is over, as more efficient battery types have come into use over time.
Lithium-Ion and Lithium Polymer Batteries
The most common rechargeable batteries which propel today’s electric vehicles are lithium-ion batteries and lithium polymer batteries. These batteries have a high energy density compared to their weight. This makes them ideal for the demanding job for which they are required.
Which is Better, Lithium-Ion or Lithium Polymer Batteries?
Both lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries have been in use for decades. The lithium-ion battery appeared in the early 20th century while the lithium polymer battery appeared in the 1970s. These are the batteries which power the electric vehicles of today, and many other devices too. But whilst both of them give an excellent performance, is it really possible to say which one is the better battery? There are certain differences between the two and depending on your priorities, you may prefer one over the other. It’s that simple.
Differences Between Lithium-Ion and Lithium Polymer Batteries
- Cost-wise, it’s found that lithium-ion batteries are cheaper than lithium polymer batteries. There is something like a 30% difference in the price between both of them. As a greater number of lithium-ion batteries are being produced, the production cost has obviously reduced.
- Lithium-ion batteries work on similar principles to lithium polymer batteries. However, it has been found that lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density than lithium polymer batteries.
- It’s also more resistant to overcharge damage. That’s not to say that lithium-ion batteries are dangerous. They are also quite safe to use, provided that normal safety precautions are observed during use.
- They are energy efficient and require minimal maintenance. When it comes to lifespan, whilst relatively equal, the lithium-ion model seems to win here.
- Lithium polymer batteries are very thin and good for products in which a thin, flexible battery is required. This might not be an issue with the electric car
It is clear that lithium-polymer battery technology is still in its developing stage to some extent. As we have noticed, lithium-ion batteries are widely manufactured and favoured. This is mainly because they are so energy efficient and budget-friendly. In the world of electric vehicles, this is the most popular battery; at least for the present time.