2013 Chevrolet Volt

Sales and performance of the lithium ion batteries has fallen short of projected forecasts, and better technology is required to make them safer, battery experts told U.S. regulators today. The technology failure put pressure on the battery makers, explaining the slow development of electric cars and the other problems the batteries have in different applications.

Almost 25 percent of the average lithium ion battery cell is flammable, increasing the risk of fires. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating a lithium ion battery fire that happened on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in January. The fleet was grounded after the batteries overheated on two jets. The Dreamliner is the first commercial airplane to make use of the lithium ion batteries. However, they are not used for flight-critical functions.

Making these batteries safer through different additives can reduce performance, and Glen Bowing, vice president of sales as Saft Specialty Battery Group, said the industry needs to make these batteries safer without the loss of performance. Thanks to the difficulties presented in part by the lithium chemistry, some experts have tried to rework old battery technologies to find a safer, less expensive solution for modern uses.

The lithium ion battery is currently used in laptops, cell phones, and other portable electronics. Most notable are the vehicles they are featured in, like the Chevrolet Volt and Tesla Model S.

Source: Automotive News

By Megan Stewart