The emergence of the smart electric car shaped the automotive industry due to its focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. At the heart of these vehicles are batteries, which have undergone significant development over the centuries.
Let’s explore how battery technology has progressed since its inception in the mid-19th century, focusing on the innovations that have increased the efficiency and range of these vehicles.
First electric cars
It is a little known fact that the birth of the electric car was not recent and this method of transportation actually predates the famous Model T which was launched by Henry Ford in 1908. It is precisely the Model T that is credited with the end of the automobile industry. Electric cars that preceded it.
However, in the early years of the electric car (late 19th and early 20th centuries), only people living in industrial or built-up areas could drive electric cars, as the batteries running them barely ran out. Had enough range to cross the first few blocks.
For some time efforts were made to improve the ability of those primitive chemical batteries to store and manage electrical energy. The idea of creating a battery exchange network was also proposed in which a motorist could exchange his depleted battery for a previously charged battery to continue on his way.
The “James Conte” was an electric car that reached a speed of 100 kilometers per hour in 1899.
With an auto industry focused almost exclusively on fossil fuel-dependent engine technology, the electric car fell into oblivion… until a few major technological innovations helped revive it.
By the 1990s, advances in battery technology spurred by the explosion of the Walkman and other similar portable products prompted some environmentally concerned engineers to restart the development of electric cars as a cleaner and more affordable alternative.
How lithium-ion batteries work in electric cars
For years, the few auto companies that dared to develop and launch electric cars relied on nickel-metal hydride batteries to power them, but their high production cost, huge size and weight, and their charging capacity The difficulty of maintaining made them difficult. Many would doubt the ability of such a battery to power a vehicle over long distances.
In addition to these types of batteries, other technologies were used in an attempt to replace internal combustion, such as the older but reliable lead–acid, lithium–polymer and nickel–cadmium batteries, but none of these solutions really gave a boost. Giving did not help. The latter progressed in a new type of battery as the electric car industry boomed: the lithium-ion battery.