The energy density of today’s automotive batteries does not compare very favorably to good old gasoline. However, researchers and scientists are continually pushing to improve the range and storage capacity of EVs.
And their hard work is paying off. According to the Argonne National Laboratory, the energy density of batteries should reach parity with fossil fuel by the year 2045. That means we’re just three decades away from electrified automotive nirvana, or so the popular narrative goes.
Unfortunately, things aren’t as favorable for EVs today. Directly comparing lithium-ion capacity to an identical amount of gasoline reveals that this battery technology only holds about 1 percent as much energy. But not so fast.
According to the report, this common comparison isn’t accurate because internal-combustion engines are much less efficient than electric motors. In short, EVs need less energy to travel the same distance because they aren’t as wasteful.
Powertrain mass and efficiency matter in these equations as is stated in the paper: “The energy density of gasoline is about 100 times greater than that of a battery, but this does not mean that BEVs will have to weigh more than conventional vehicles to be able to run the same distance.”
In any event, researchers at the Argonne National Lab estimate that by 2045 battery-electric vehicles will compare very favorably to conventional vehicles “in terms of the energy spent at the wheel per kilogram of the powertrain mass.” This is because batteries and other components will continue to get lighter and more efficient.
[Source: Argonne National Laboratory]
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