New Battery Technologies Take on Lithium-ion


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Lithium-ion batteries remain the technology-of-choice for today’s crop of electric cars, but challengers are revving up to try to upset the current order. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, takes a look at two of the top contenders vying to erode lithium-ion’s dominance.

Alex Scott, a senior editor at C&EN, reports on two developments from companies in England that seem poised to compete in the electric car battery market within the next two to four years. One is a sodium-ion version, produced by a start-up called Faradion. The other is a battery powered by lithium-sulfur technology and is being developed by Oxis Energy. Both companies assert their advances will be able to compete with lithium-ion in performance, safety and costs.

Some industry watchers, however, remain unconvinced by the claims, given that a slew of other battery-makers made similar promises and then failed to deliver. Soon enough, the fates of Faradion and Oxis could also be determined. Faradion has set a goal to match the energy density of lithium-ion batteries by 2017. And although they’re still dealing with battery cycle issues, Oxis’ lithium-sulfur technology has already attracted the attention of the military.

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