A green, rechargeable battery that is suitable for powering electric vehicles and stationary power storage applications, and that would survive tens of thousands of charge cycles in a useful life of 100 years without loss of capacity. What could be a better innovation for our times? Such a battery has been developed, and recently improved by Stanford researchers. Oh, one other thing. The battery was invented by Thomas Edison in 1901.
The first era of electric cars took place from about 1890 until 1930. America’s first commercially successful electric vehicle was built by William Morrison of Des Moines, Iowa in 1891. In 1900, 28 percent of the cars built in the U.S. were electric. Generally these electric cars had low power motors – a kilowatt or two compared to the 15 kw of the 1908 Ford Model T. Their drivability, however, was acceptable because of the effortless starting of the electric motor, its large starting torque, and the perception that relatively slow electric cars were well suited to city driving by ladies and physicians (this was the era of the house call).
A group of researchers at Stanford has significantly improved the performance of nickel-iron batteries, which may lead to new applications for this venerable battery. The Stanford team has created an ultrafast nickel-iron battery that can be fully charged in about two minutes and discharged in less than 30 seconds, making the new batteries ideal to supplement slow-charging lithium-ion batteries in regenerative braking.