Electric vehicle batteries are really good, and they’re getting even better

by Liz Galst at vitalsigns.edf.org

Cheaper. Faster charging. Cleaner. More recyclable. 

The battery improvements that can help more drivers feel comfortable with electric vehicles — while helping take a big bite out of climate and air pollution — are coming to fruition.

“Batteries will get better, cheaper, and even power your home or the grid,” says Matthias Preindl, who heads Columbia University’s Motor Drives and Power Electronics Laboratory. “We have new technologies that will see the market at the earliest at the end of the decade. And we have promising experimental technologies too.”

Preindl believes the advances we’re seeing now, including a sharp drop in battery prices, are only the beginning.

That is, in part, because governments have been pouring billions of dollars into EV battery research and development. The U.S. is a case in point, with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act investing at least $6.7 billion in battery research and development.“I’ve heard it called an arms race,” says Brian Cunningham, program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy’s vehicle technology office. The DOE and its research partners, including national laboratories and universities, are working on everything from which elements are used to create batteries all the way up to how they are designed, assembled and recycled.