Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car at quick charging station
Three large global companies--Bosch, GS Yuasa, and Mitsubishi--have announced a joint venture to improve development of the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles.
The group's aim is to double energy capacity, helping electric cars become truly mass-market in the next decade.
Today, electric cars are still held back by existing battery technology to some extent.
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The majority of EVs currently on sale provide a range of 70 to 100 miles.
In reality, that's sufficient for the majority of journeys for most drivers, but it's still perceived as a limitation by those used to the longer range of a fully-fueled gasoline vehicle.
Dozens of enities across the globe are working on different battery technologies, with the majority of the projects aimed at increasing capacity.
Batteries with greater capacity mean packs of equivalent size can offer a significant increase in range for electric vehicles, or the same range can be provided by a smaller, lighter pack.
According to Green Car Congress (via Charged EVs), Bosch chairman Dr. Volkmar Denner says the companies want to achieve "nothing less than a giant leap forward in the development of battery technology".
The aim is to make lithium-ion batteries "twice as efficient".
Each firm brings something important to the table. Bosch has expertise in packs and management systems as well as knowledge of integrating packs into vehicles.
GS Yuasa has years of experience in manufacturing high-density cells, and Mitsubishi has a large sales network, as well as experience in global value-added chains.
As ever, it could be some years before we see the fruits of the joint venture's labor, though the three companies say they expect electric vehicles to become mass market from 2020 onward--so a year before that date might be a safe bet.