Led by Tesla's Model S, the Nissan Leaf and hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Chevy Volt, electric cars are finally catching on. Most EVs (electric vehicles) run on lithium-ion batteries; the same kind used in electronics such as your smartphone and laptop. But a revolutionary new cotton-based (yes, cotton!) battery could give us EVs that are cheaper, have more range and charge up faster.
That's the plan of a Japanese startup called Power Japan Plus. At an announcement in San Francisco, the company said it's figured out how to modify the structure of organic cotton's carbon fiber to create its Ryden dual carbon battery.
Power Japan Plus's Ryden battery has five advantages over lithium-ions. First, it charges 20 times faster than li-ion batteries. Second, it has over 3,000 charge and discharge cycles, which makes it extremely reliable over the course of many years of use. Third, its easy to manufacture; it doesn't use any rare metals. Fourth, the Ryden battery is super safe; it runs at a steady temperature which reduces fire and explosion hazards. And finally, it's sustainable — 100 percent recyclable.
With Ryden dual carbon batteries, future EVs could cost less, get up to 300 miles in range without battery degradation and be charged up in seconds as opposed to hours.
“The Ryden dual carbon battery is the energy storage breakthrough needed to bring green technology like electric vehicles to mass market," said Dou Kani, CEO of Power Japan Plus.
Power Japan Plus may not be a big name, but Kaname Takeya, its chief technology officer, is no stranger to building batteries for electric cars. Takeya previously worked at Sumitomo, a company that helped develop batteries for the Toyota's Prius hybrid and Tesla's all-electric Model S.
The company expects to manufacture up to 5,000 Ryden batteries this year as part of a pilot run, so it could still be many years before we see the breakthrough tech implemented into electric cars.
I'm all for EVs adopting Power Japan Plus's battery tech, but how about putting this stuff to work in smartphones and tablets?