The concept of batteries and the production of power through simple chemical formulations have enticed chemists and engineers for centuries now. Whether this innovation is a result of necessity or accidental experimentation is inconsequential compared to the instrumental role it plays every single day in the life of every single person on the globe. Some of the most commonly used devices that rely on battery power are watches and smart phones- devices that a present day individual would not imagine going a single day without. Batteries are however not limited to these two, they are essential in a number of mechanical or electronic instruments, and these days their scope includes vehicles as well. The fundamental principle behind the working of a battery is a simple chemical procedure that was first recorded to be identified Alessandro Volta in 1799.
In a battery, two electrodes known as a cathode (positive) and an anode (negative) have an electrolyte between the two. A complete electric circuit leads to the flow of electrons from the negative terminal to positive, while the ions move in the opposite direction- thereby creating an electrical current. In the present times, this principle has also been applied to cars as many engineers and scientists look for alternates for liquid fuel driven vehicles to create sustainable and eco-friendly ways to power automobiles. This has led to an upsurge in the creation and production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the modern times as demands for cleaner and low maintenance cars has grown. The modern rebirth of EVs has been pioneered by the automobile giant Volkswagen, with the assistance of powerful lithium-ion batteries which were invented in the 1970s era. Its first step in this direction was the production of an electric Microbus van which ran on lead acid batteries giving it a range of 25 miles and adding 1,847 lbs to the van’s overall weight.
More advancements and studies in this field have led to scientists considering battery powered vehicles to be the future of transportation and a game-changing means of combatting climate change. Electric vehicles not only have the highest fuel to movement conversion rate (75%) of any other fuel type vehicles, they can also be completely void of direct emissions if charged with a renewable energy source. Volkswagen’s MEB electric vehicles and its upcoming project- the ID.4 electric vehicle has executed the use of “pouch” batteries to maximize or minimize battery modules and power flow as per individual needs. For all its usefulness, a battery powered car is not devoid of some cons. At present, research in this field has still not been able to make a battery as powerful or long-lasting as a liquid fuel. Batteries also tend to take very long charging time and fast charging may degrade a battery, which is already the most expensive part of the car. To wrestle these problems, Volkswagen’s start-up QuantumScape has been set up which will research and provide possible solutions for all the shortcomings. With the rate of evolution in this industry, it might be sooner than expected that Volkswagen will successfully bring this technology out to the world.
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