For some perspective ....
For some perspective ....
I guess we haven't come that far in 30 years... Also cool that that's m hometown newspaper, and I was 18 months old what that was published
From September 1979. At least it is proof that GM (and also Ford and Chrysler) made a valiant attempt to create a superior battery at that time. Unfortunately they failed to find a formula that would be commercially acceptable, and re-focused their efforts on fuel cells.
That 20-30,000 mile life expectancy was kind of a short fall. Not to mention, the "We really don't want to tell you what they cost" part. Sure you can build a couple batteries that give you a long range, or a long life, but they have costed too much to be useful to anyone but the zealots.
Well, that is changing now after more than a hundred years of battery building, we finally have batteries that can be built for less than $400 a kWh that will last 8-10 years. That is pretty cool. I wonder what the battery pack equivalent of Moore's Law will be when the historians get to look at the real prices in 8 or 10 years. 6% average improvements in size and price per year? 8%?
Actually, battery technology has come far since then. But at a steep price; for example, the 300mi Tesla Motors Model S sedan. Those who can afford a Volt may or may not be able to afford a Tesla. For the future, we most definently have the ability to come up with 300mi/charge cars that are reasonably affordable. But, its just that at this time, the Leaf or the Focus may be a bit more affordable than a Model S or a Roadster.
Possible progress will depend how close we are right now to hitting the plateau imposed by the laws of physics. Computer clock speeds have not progressed much in the last 10 years. In 2003, I had a 3 GHz Intel processor in my computer. today, the fastes processors are still in the 3 GHz range. To keep development moving, manufacturers have been adding more cores on the same processor die, but the basic unit is still stuck near the same clock speeds. The same may be happening with batteries.
How many more watts will we be able to pull out of a single battery cell until the only way to increase capacity will be to install cells in parallel (which is pretty much what Tesla does for the 300 mile Model S). It's hard to estimate if energy density will get higher in the future. However, it's pretty certain that they will get cheaper on a kWh/$ basis. So we may be destined to lugging around 1/2-ton batteries to get decent all-electric, but at least they'll be cheaper than today's.
Intel has its fast and famous processors, but IBM is quietly ahead, and its processors are used in the Microsoft Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii, and the Sony Playstations 3 and 4. It was used in the MarsPathfinder and other spacecraft, and I would like to know if GM is using IBM processors in the Chevy Volt.