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Electric Vehicles

Technologies for Getting to Zero Emissions by 2060

Question: How fast are technologies to address climate change developing, particularly with regard to electric vehicles?

GenerallyEclectic looked at Canada's Greenhouse Gas emissions and found that in 2012, road transportation accounted for 19.0 percent of Canada's emissions, and emissions from road transportation had increased by 36.8 percent over the period 1990 to 2012. Clearly, the development of electric vehicles is an essential element in getting emissions to zero by 2060.

To answer the question on how fast technologies were developing, GenerallyEclectic looked at articles in Science Daily on electric vehicles for the previous eighteen months, which at the time of writing was December 1, 2018 to May 31, 2020. GenerallyEclectic found 44 articles, many promising technological development with the capable of transforming electric vehices. Overall, the future is promising. Titles, summaries and links to the relevant articles are provided, so you can make your own judgments.

The summary here is limited to Science Daily findings, which are in turn determined by Science Daily's methodology, which is outlined at About Science Daily. To the extent that Science Daily undoubtedly missed some technological developments, this summary under-reports developments.


  1. Paper-thin gallium oxide transistor handles more than 8,000 volts | 28 May 2020: Electrical engineers created a gallium oxide-based transistor that can handle more than 8,000 volts. The transistor could lead to smaller and more efficient electronic systems that control and convert electric power -- a field of study known as power electronics -- in electric cars, locomotives and airplanes. In turn, this could help improve how far these vehicles can travel.
  2. A leap in using silicon for battery anodes: Novel nanostructure design lends extraordinary strength to a promising storage ingredient | 27 Apr 2020: Scientists have come up with a novel way to use silicon as an energy storage ingredient. They've developed a nanostructure incorporating carbon nanotubes to strengthen the material and modify the way silicon interacts with lithium, a key component in batteries used in electric cars and other devices.
  3. Next-generation batteries take major step toward commercial viability | 27 Apr 2020: A group of researchers ... has found a way to stabilize one of the most challenging parts of lithium-sulfur batteries, bringing the technology closer to becoming commercially viable. The team's findings ... show that creating an artificial layer containing tellurium, inside the battery in-situ, on top of lithium metal, can make it last four times longer.
  4. Engineers develop way to improve efficiency and heat tolerance of devices | 20 Apr 2020: When it comes to increasing electric storage efficiency and electric breakdown strength -- the ability of an electrical system to operate at higher voltage and temperatures with great efficiency -- increasing one traditionally has led to a decrease in the other. Researchers recently developed a scalable method that relies on engineered materials to increase both properties.
  5. AI techniques used to improve battery health and safety | 5 Apr 2020: Researchers have designed a machine learning method that can predict battery health with 10x higher accuracy than current industry standard, which could aid in the development of safer and more reliable batteries for electric vehicles and consumer electronics.
  6. A new battery chemistry promises safer high-voltage lithium-ion batteries | 26 Mar 2020: For the first time, researchers who explore the physical and chemical properties of electrical energy storage have found a new way to improve lithium-ion batteries. They successfully increased not only the voltage delivery of a lithium-ion battery but also its ability to suppress dangerous conditions that affect the current range of batteries. This improved lithium-ion battery could make longer journeys in electric vehicles possible and lead to the creation of a new generation of home energy storage, both with improved fire safety.
  7. Designing lightweight glass for efficient cars, wind turbines | 25 Mar 2020: A new machine-learning algorithm for exploring lightweight, very stiff glass compositions can help design next-gen materials for more efficient vehicles and wind turbines. Glasses can reinforce polymers to generate composite materials that provide similar strengths as metals but with less weight.
  8. Electric cars better for climate in 95% of the world | 22 Mar 2020: Fears that electric cars could actually increase carbon emissions are unfounded in almost all parts of the world, new research shows. Media reports have regularly questioned whether electric cars are really "greener" once emissions from production and generating their electricity are taken into account. But a new study ... has concluded that electric cars lead to lower carbon emissions overall, even if electricity generation still involves substantial amounts of fossil fuel.
  9. Chasing lithium ions on the move in a fast-charging battery | 11 Mar 2020: A team of scientists ... has captured in real time how lithium ions move in lithium titanate (LTO), a fast-charging battery electrode material made of lithium, titanium, and oxygen. They discovered that distorted arrangements of lithium and surrounding atoms in LTO "intermediates" (structures of LTO with a lithium concentration in between that of its initial and end states) provide an "express lane" for the transport of lithium ions. Their discovery ... could provide insights into designing improved battery materials for the rapid charging of electric vehicles and portable consumer electronics such as cell phones and laptops.
  10. Scientists demonstrate first non-volatile nano relay operation at 200°C: Discovery is significant step in developing electronics for extreme energy efficiency and harsh environments | 3 Mar 2020: Researchers have come up with a new type of nanoelectromechanical relay to enable reliable high-temperature, non-volatile memory. The work is an important development for all-electric vehicles and more-electric aircraft which require electronics with integrated data storage that can operate in extreme temperatures with high energy efficiency.
  11. What to expect when you're expecting electric transportation: Study explores strategies that could help reduce emissions from the transport industry | 24 Feb 2020: While electric vehicles alone may not reduce carbon emissions, a new study reveals that when electric vehicles are powered with renewable energy and coupled with carbon policy strategies, they can help combat climate change without sacrificing economic growth ... researchers combined economic and transport models and data from 17 regions around the world to produce six scenarios for transportation into the year 2100.
  12. Cobalt supply can meet demand for electric vehicle and electronics batteries | 18 Feb 2020: Greater use of electric vehicles might be good for the environment, but further growth hinges on continued availability of critical battery components such as cobalt. Cell phones and other electronics also depend on the element's availability. Supplies of the metal are adequate in the short term, but shortages could develop down the road if refining and recycling aren't ramped up or made more efficient, according to new research.
  13. New machine learning method could supercharge battery development for electric vehicles | 18 Feb 2020: A new machine learning method has slashed battery testing times -- a key barrier to longer-lasting, faster-charging batteries for electric vehicles -- by nearly fifteenfold. For decades, advances in electric vehicle batteries have been limited by a major bottleneck: evaluation times. At every stage of the battery development process, new technologies must be tested for months or even years to determine how long they will last. But now, a team ... has developed a machine learning-based method that slashes these testing times by 98 percent.
  14. Fast-charging, long-running, bendy energy storage breakthrough | 16 Feb 2020: A new bendable supercapacitor made from graphene, which charges quickly and safely stores a record-high level of energy for use over a long period, has been developed. While at the proof-of-concept stage, it shows enormous potential as a portable power supply in several practical applications including electric vehicles, phones and wearable technology. The discovery ... overcomes the issue faced by high-powered, fast-charging supercapacitors -- that they usually cannot hold a large amount of energy in a small space.
  15. Will the future's super batteries be made of seawater? | 22 Jan 2020: The race is on to develop even more efficient and rechargable batteries for the future. One promising option is to make batteries based on sodium, which is found in abundance in seawater...We all know the rechargeable and efficient lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries sitting in our smartphones, laptops and also in electric cars. Unfortunately, lithium is a limited resource...Therefore, researchers are now looking for alternatives to the Li-ion battery. A promising alternative is to replace lithium with the metal sodium -- to make Na-ion batteries. Sodium is found in large quantities in seawater and can be easily extracted from it.
  16. Supercharging tomorrow: World's most efficient lithium-sulfur battery ... | 2 Jan 2020: Researchers are on the brink of commercializing the world's most efficient lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery, which could outperform current market leaders by more than four times...Imagine having access to a battery, which has the potential to ... enable an electric vehicle to drive more than 1000km without needing to "refuel." Monash University researchers are on the brink of commercialising the world's most efficient lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery...
  17. New aqueous lithium-ion battery improves safety without sacrificing performance | 18 Dec 2019: As the lithium-ion batteries that power ... electric vehicles become increasingly fast-charging and high-performing, they also grow increasingly expensive and flammable. Engineers have now demonstrated how they could -- by using aqueous electrolytes instead of the typical organic electrolytes -- assemble a substantially safer, cost-efficient battery that still performs well.
  18. New electrodes could increase efficiency of electric vehicles and aircraft | 21 Nov 2019: ... the most current electric vehicle batteries and supercapacitors are incredibly heavy. ... Most of the research aimed at lowering the mass of electric vehicles has focused on increasing the energy density, thus reducing the weight of the battery or supercapacitor itself. However, a team ... believes that lighter electric vehicles and aircraft can be achieved by storing energy within the structural body panels.
  19. UK needs to act to prevent electric vehicle battery waste mountain | 5 Nov 2019: Recycling technologies for end-of-life lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are not keeping pace with the rapid rise of electric vehicles, storing up a potentially huge waste management problem for the future ...governments and industry need to act now to develop a robust recycling infrastructure to meet future recycling need...The study identifies a number of key challenges that engineers and policy-makers will need to address,
  20. Shedding new light on charging lithium-ion batteries | 30 Oct 2019: Researchers have discovered a photo-excitation process that speeds up the charging of lithium-ion batteries. If commercialized, such technology could be a game changer for electric vehicles...Exposing cathodes to light decreases charge time by a factor of two in lithium-ion batteries...Simply exposing the cathode to a beam of concentrated light -- for example, the white light from a xenon lamp -- lowers the battery charging time by a remarkable factor of two or more.
  21. Mimicking body's circulatory AC could keep airplanes, cars and computers | 30 Oct 2019: Engineers report on how a computational technique they developed can quickly produce designs for 3D printing carbon-fiber composite materials with an internal vasculature optimized for active-cooling. ... Microvascular fiber-composites are currently being developed to cool everything from electric vehicles to next generation aircraft, where increasingly higher performance is turning up the heat they generate.
  22. In and out with 10-minute electrical vehicle recharge | 29 Oct 2019: Electric vehicle owners may soon be able to pull into a fueling station, plug their car in, go to the restroom ...and in 10 minutes, drive out with a fully charged battery."We demonstrated that we can charge an electrical vehicle in ten minutes for a 200 to 300 mile range...And we can do this maintaining 2,500 charging cycles, or the equivalent of half a million miles of travel."
  23. New electrolyte stops rapid performance decline of next-generation lithium battery | 9 Oct 2019: Researchers have designed and tested a new electrolyte composition that could greatly accelerate the adoption of the next generation of lithium-ion batteries...Researchers ...have developed a new electrolyte mixture and a simple additive that could have a place in the next generation of lithium-ion batteries.
  24. New coating brings lithium metal battery closer to reality | 25 Aug 2019: A research team invented a new coating that could finally make lightweight lithium metal batteries safe and long lasting, which could usher in the next generation of electric vehicles....Hope has been restored for the rechargeable lithium metal battery -- a potential battery powerhouse relegated for decades to the laboratory by its short life expectancy and occasional fiery demise while its rechargeable sibling, the lithium-ion battery, now rakes in more than $30 billion a year. A new coating could make lightweight lithium metal batteries safe and long lasting, a boon for development of next-generation electric vehicles. (Image credit: Shutterstock)... The biggest drag on electric vehicles is that their batteries spend about a fourth of their energy carrying themselves around.
  25. A new material for the battery of the future | 16 Jul 2019: Researchers have discovered a new high performance and safe battery material (LTPS) capable of speeding up charge and discharge to a level never observed so far. Practically, if the first tests are confirmed, this new material could be used in the batteries of the future with better energy storage, faster charge and discharge and higher safety targeting many uses from smartphones, to electric bicycle and cars.
  26. Expanding the temperature range of lithium-ion batteries | 18 Jun 2019: Electric cars struggle with extreme temperatures, mainly because of impacts on the electrolyte solutions in their lithium-ion batteries. Now, researchers have developed new electrolytes containing multiple additives that work better over a wide temperature range.
  27. Powering a solution: Professor takes charge at improving lithium ion ... | 18 Jun 2019: Scientists are working to improve the safety of Li-ion batteries by creating a shear-thickening electrolyte -- a substance that can become thicker under impact, set between the battery's anode and cathode that will be impact-resistant, thus not causing a fire or an explosion upon any collision.
  28. Electric vehicles would be a breath of fresh air for Houston | 10 Jun 2019: Researchers say replacing at least 35 percent of Houston's gasoline cars and diesel trucks with electric vehicles by 2040 will reduce pollution and improve air quality by 50 percent.
  29. Electric car switch on for health benefits | 15 May 2019: Could the health benefits and reduced costs to healthcare systems be enough to justify subsidizing charging infrastructure to allow society to switch from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles faster than current trends predict? ...the migration from polluting vehicles that burn fossil fuels to electric vehicles, ideally using electricity generated sustainably could significantly reduce the incidence of cardiopulmonary illness due to air pollution. This would lead not only to less employee absence from work through illness but also lead to broad improvements in quality and length of life.
  30. Clean fuel cells could be cheap enough to replace gas engines in vehicles | 7 May 2019: Advancements in zero-emission fuel cells could make the technology cheap enough to replace traditional gasoline engines in vehicles ... The researchers have developed a new fuel cell that lasts at least 10 times longer than current technology, an improvement that would make them economically practical, if mass-produced, to power vehicles with electricity.
  31. New discovery makes fast-charging, better performing lithium-ion: Materials could boost battery performance in consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and more | 15 Apr 2019: Creating a lithium-ion battery that can charge in a matter of minutes but still operate at a high capacity is possible ...This development has the potential to improve battery performance for consumer electronics, solar grid storage, and electric vehicles... Koratkar and his team improved performance by substituting cobalt oxide with vanadium disulfide (VS2).
  32. Electric vehicle adoption improves air quality and climate outlook: Ozone pollution reduced even when electricity is produced by combustion sources | 11 Apr 2019: A new study quantified the differences in air pollution generated from battery- powered electric vehicles versus internal combustion engines. The researchers found that even when their electricity is generated from combustion sources, electric vehicles have a net positive impact on air quality and climate change.
  33. New 'blue-green' solution for recycling world's batteries: Rice scientists show solvent leaches cobalt, lithium for reuse from spent batteries | 31 Mar 2019: Materials scientists demonstrate an environmentally friendly solution to remove valuable cobalt and lithium metals from spent lithium-ion batteries. The metals and the eutectic solvent they use to extract them can then be recycled.
  34. Predicting the useful life of batteries with data and AI | 24 Mar 2019:In an advance that could accelerate battery development and improve manufacturing, scientists have found how to accurately predict the useful lifespan of lithium-ion batteries, used in devices from mobile phones to electric cars. If manufacturers of cell-phone batteries could tell which cells will last at least two years, then they could sell only those to phone makers and send the rest to makers of less demanding devices. New research shows how manufacturers could do this. The technique could be used not only to sort manufactured cells but to help new battery designs reach the market more quickly...After the researchers trained their machine learning model with a few hundred million data points of batteries charging and discharging, the algorithm predicted how many more cycles each battery would last, based on voltage declines and a few other factors among the early cycles.
  35. Cause of cathode degradation identified for nickel-rich materials | 14 Mar 2019: A team of scientists have identified the causes of degradation in a cathode material for lithium-ion batteries, as well as possible remedies. Their findings could lead to the development of more affordable and better performing batteries for electric vehicles.
  36. New wheel units could bring vehicle costs down | 14 Mar 2019: Vehicles could be affordably produced for a wide variety of specialized purposes using a sophisticated wheel unit developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo. The self-contained unit combines a wheel and an electric motor with braking, suspension, steering and a control system in a single module designed to be bolted to any vehicle frame. It would free manufacturers from making huge investments to develop those components from scratch and enable the economical production of specialized vehicles in even small quantities.
  37. High-powered fuel cell boosts electric-powered submersibles, drones | 24 Feb 2019: Engineers have developed a high-powered fuel cell that operates at double the voltage of today's commercial fuel cells. It could power underwater vehicles, drones and eventually electric aircraft at a significantly lower cost.
  38. 'Goldilocks' thinking to cut cost of fuel cells in electric vehicles | 20 Feb 2019: Electric vehicles running on fuel cells tout zero emissions and higher efficiency, but expensive platinum is holding them back from entering a larger market. A new method increases fuel cell electrode activity at least tenfold, using 90 percent less metal...Cutting down on the platinum would also cut costs, allowing more electric cars to hit the market... The technique uses the forces on a metal's surface to identify the ideal electrode thickness.
  39. X-rays used to understand the flaws of battery fast charging ... | 10 Feb 2019: Researchers imaged a battery as it was quickly charged and discharged, allowing for the observation of lithium plating behavior that can inhibit the battery's long-term function.
  40. Sodium is the new lithium: Researchers find a way to boost sodium-ion battery performance | 31 Jan 2019: SCentists have found the desirable component for sodium-ion batteries (SIB), which could contribute to boost SIB performance such as speed of charge. Despite lithium-ion batteries are currently popular, it is expected to find the new energy urgently, because lithium is not only expensive but limited. The findings show the possibility that SIB will be are attractive alternative for the lithium ion batteries.
  41. Better batteries: The energy implications of organic radical polymers: New technology could change the way we charge everything from phones to electric vehicles | 27 Jan 2019: A major hurdle to creating a metal-free, 100-percent polymer battery is finding a polymer that is electrochemically active -- meaning it has to be able to store and exchange electrons. ...Owing to their chemical structure, organic radical polymers are very stable and reactive. They have a single electron on the radical group, and this unpaired electron allows rapid charge transfer in these polymers during redox reactions...However, Lutkenhaus and her team were able to capture incredibly detailed measurements using a specialized device, an electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (EQCM-D).
  42. 2D materials may enable electric vehicles to get 500 miles on a single charge | 9 Jan 2019: A number of 2D materials, when incorporated into experimental lithium-air batteries as the catalyst, enabled a battery to hold up to 10 times more energy than lithium-air batteries containing traditional catalysts, according to new research.
  43. Lean electrolyte design is a game-changer for magnesium batteries: Chloride-free electrolyte and organic cathode boosted energy density, stability | 20 Dec 2018: Researchers have discovered a promising new version of high-energy magnesium batteries, with potential applications ranging from electric vehicles to battery storage for renewable energy systems.
  44. US interstate highways need overhaul, says new report: System requires significant commitment for federal and state coordination and funding, says new report | 5 Dec 2018: The future of the US Interstate Highway System is threatened by a persistent and growing backlog of structural and operational deficiencies and by various looming challenges, such as the progress of automated vehicles, developments in electric vehicles, and vulnerabilities due to climate change.
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