Studies Reveal Insights in EV Usage, Batteries
As electric vehicles develop, research into usage and technology can shape the industry's future. This article reviews two recent studies with surprising results.
The electric vehicle industry is still considerably new. There is still much room to grow and many misconceptions to address. With evolving usage patterns and technological advancements shaping its future, in five years, the industry will likely look very different from how it does today.
Studies into EV usage and battery tech highlight the need to learn more. Image used courtesy of George Washington University
Recently, unrelated studies about EV usage and batteries point to the need to reframe industry perceptions.
Electric Vehicles: Lower Mileage Compared to Gasoline Cars
A recent study from researchers at George Washington University challenges the prevalent assumption that EV owners drive as much as owners of gas cars, a belief held by modelers and regulatory entities like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The study analyzed odometer data from millions of used cars and SUVs between 2016 and 2022. It revealed that battery electric vehicles were driven substantially fewer miles annually than gas cars. Specifically, electric cars averaged 7,165 miles annually, while gas-powered cars reached 11,642 miles. Similarly, electric SUVs logged 10,587 miles yearly, compared to 12,945 miles for their gas-powered counterparts.
One study finds that projections of the environmental benefits of EVs as compared to gas vehicles do not consider that EVs are driven fewer miles annually. Image used courtesy of EPA
This discrepancy raises crucial questions regarding the actual environmental impact of EVs. Since EVs generally produce lower emissions over their lifespan, the potential for emissions savings is more significant when replacing high-mileage gasoline vehicles with EVs. However, the current generation of EV owners does not use their vehicles as extensively as gas cars, which could mean the environmental benefits are not as substantial as previously estimated.
These findings have profound implications for policymakers and regulators drafting and implementing emissions regulations. The data suggests that the anticipated emissions savings from EV adoption might be overestimated. This insight is crucial for creating more accurate models that predict emissions reductions from EV adoption, ensuring that policies and regulations are based on realistic usage patterns.
Making EVs Last with Advanced Dual-Ion Battery Tech
At the same time, a group of researchers from the Pohang University of Science and Technology are exploring ways to make EVs last longer using dual-ion batteries (DIBs).
DIBs utilize lithium cations and counter anions, providing high energy density similar to traditional batteries. This dual utilization allows DIBs to store significant amounts of energy. However, they encounter a challenge with the graphite anode material. The larger anions cause expansion and contraction during charging and discharging cycles, compromising the battery's durability.
Dual-ion batteries demonstrate high durability with binder applied. Image used courtesy of the Pohang University of Science and Technology
Addressing this issue, the researchers introduced a groundbreaking solution in the form of an innovative polymer binder. This binder incorporates azide (N3-) and acrylate (C3H3O2) groups. The azide groups are particularly effective as they form robust covalent bonds with graphite through a chemical reaction induced by ultraviolet light. This bond maintains the structural integrity of the graphite during its expansion and contraction phases. Simultaneously, the acrylate groups play a crucial role in re-establishing the connection between the graphite and the binder, even if initial bonds are disrupted.
Experimental results demonstrated that dual-ion batteries equipped with this binder exhibit exceptional performance, enduring over 3,500 recharge cycles without significant degradation. Furthermore, these batteries showcased rapid charging capabilities, regaining about 88% of their original capacity in just two minutes.
Changing Perceptions of EVs
The recent findings from George Washington University and the advancements at Pohang University of Science and Technology are pivotal in reshaping our understanding of the electric vehicle industry. As this industry is still nascent, these studies are instrumental in dispelling misconceptions and setting a more informed course for the future.
Collectively, these studies underscore the dynamic nature of the EV industry and the importance of ongoing research and adaptation. They highlight the need for continuous innovation, both in understanding user behavior and technological development, to realize the full potential of electric vehicles.