Electric vehicles are here to stay. As the UK government and local bodies force car manufacturers to reduce tailpipe emissions, we’ll begin to see more electricity-powered vehicles. However, the road will not be an easy one. Experts need to improve the capabilities, performance, and affordability of EV batteries.

In this post, we explain how an EV battery works; from the properties to the operation and their possible limitations.

How does an EV Battery Work?

The properties of a lithium-ion battery

Over the years, lithium-ion batteries have been a top choice consumer battery to power electronics such as telephones and PCs. And now electric vehicles use them too.

The reason primarily lies in the storage density (the ratio between the storage and its weight) the lithium-ion can stretch to. Basically, a lithium-ion battery offers 10x the storage of a lead-acid battery.

Lithium-ion is one of the best and most reliable batteries on the electric mobility market. It works well with the principles of the circular economy and its component complement each other throughout its usage.

The operation of a lithium-ion battery

The lithium-ion battery works by circulating electrons around two electrodes while creating a difference between them. These two electrodes – one negative (cathode) and one positive (anode) – are immersed in an ionic liquid referred to as electrolyte.

When the battery powers an electric vehicle, a discharging phase occurs. In this phase, the electrons leave the cathode via an external circuit to the anode. Inversely, when the battery is charging, the electrons are forced back to the negative electrode by the energy supplied by the charger.

The different battery types

Electric vehicle batteries vary by ion types, electrode materials, and the corresponding electrolytes. However, the leading battery technology is the lithium-ion capacity type.

The main elements that determine the cost of a battery, lifespan, and performance are the negative electrode i.e. cathode.

Nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries, which are used in typical passenger cars, are expected to also be the standard for EVs. Car manufacturers using these NMC batteries include Kia, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

Currently, reports forecast that NMC batteries will take 60% of the market share by 2027. 

 

What are the limitations of EV batteries?

There are two major limitations of EV batteries: slower run-out time with range and recharging time. However, a tweak is to increase the energy density.

EV batteries so expensive

Unlike conventional ICE counterparts, EV batteries can be very expensive to be affordable by many consumers.

The reason is not far from the fact that it contains expensive elements like cobalt. It uѕеѕ a form оf NMC paired wіth grарhіtе in 48-vоlt batteries for mіld hybrids.

However, these batteries could become affordable to some extent in the coming years. Manufacturers are trying to replace cobalt in the cells with nickel (less expensive metal).

Other limitations of EV batteries are:

  • Another worry with these batteries (both NMC and NCA) is that overcharging sometimes results in fire and explosion.
  • Shortage of charging stations.

Dangers

EV batteries are thoroughly tested and automakers put many safety measures in place to ensure they are safe to use. Although they involve very high voltages, you can never be exposed to shocks. Also, they are packaged in a safe house in the car, protected from external forces. 

Environmental Impacts

Several reports are suggesting that while an electric car is expensive to buy, it’s a greener vehicle for the road. Moreover, their batteries can be converted into smart energy supply systems to power your home.