Business / Auto China

GE charged up over electric car battery

By DU JUAN ( Updated: 2014-01-03 17:17

"It's a little more complex than making instant oatmeal, but scientists from GE and Berkeley Lab may have just the recipe for next-generation electric vehicle batteries that achieve desired driving range and cost for consumers," said the United States-based General Electric Company on Thursday.

The scientists are developing a water-based battery capable of more than just traditional, stationary energy storage.

"We're excited about the impact this new technology could have on electric vehicles, especially as it relates to cost and the need to recharge," said Grigorii Soloveichik, project leader on the water-based flow battery project at GE Global Research.

According to Soloveichik, the flow battery could be one-fourth the price of car batteries on the market today, while enabling roughly three-times the current driving range.

He said the batteries they are developing can power a car for more than 240 miles.

To reduce emission and improve transportation conditions, the Chinese government has been encouraging the wider use of electric vehicles.

The 12th Five-Year-Plan (2011-15) has a greater focus on the use of various energy sources and sees an increasing role for electric vehicles. However, the battery technology has been an obstacle.

The government of Beijing also carried out policies to boost sales of electric vehicles in the city by giving more quotas for purchasing.

The lack of charging poles and stations in the city is still a concern for potential customers.

Scientists with GE said discharge and recharge of their flow batteries occur in electrochemical cells separated from energy storing tanks, which makes the process safer.

It said the team will demonstrate the feasibility of this new battery concept and develop a working prototype later this year.

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