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The Mobilist
The future of batteries, electric cars, and driverless vehicles. A new blog from Medium.

Battery

In The Mobilist. More on Medium.

Cell-making is essential but the President cited batteries just once

Photo courtesy of Siemens

For a decade, China has been building battery and electric vehicle industries, making it by far the biggest player in these technologies of the future. Over the last three years, Europe has sought to catch up, putting billions of dollars behind the creation of its own homegrown lithium-ion and EV industries. Today, the pair are more or less the global EV pantheon.


Ford’s announcement signals a late U.S. bid to compete head-to-head with Europe and China

Ford’s new electric Mustang Mach-E SUV crossover. Photo courtesy of Ford

For Ford, the fear of a Kodak moment came January 28, when Mary Barra, CEO of rival General Motors, announced that as of 2035, her company aimed to be making only electric vehicles (EVs) for the consumer market. GM would continue to manufacture a heavy pickup or two with gasoline engines. But for GM, Barra said, the age of combustion was effectively over.


But most battery researchers don’t believe it

QuantumScape’s breakthrough separator. Photo courtesy of QuantumScape

On its first day of trading in November, shares of QuantumScape, a lithium-metal battery startup, surged by 57% in price. Then 10 days later, the price doubled, and less than two weeks after that, it was up another 72% — a total 5.7-fold increase in less than a month. The price has since plunged back to earth — sort of. As of the close of trading yesterday, it was up a mere 80% since its debut two months ago.


EV charging, the Return of LFP, and the Lancia Fulvia

Envelopes of different sizes
Envelopes of different sizes
Photo: Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash

Each Wednesday, The Mobilist highlights reader articles on Medium, comments, and updates.


Solid state, the Biden agenda, and congratulations

Photo: Brian Patrick Tagalog/Unsplash

Each Wednesday, The Mobilist highlights reader articles on Medium, comments, and updates.


A supercautious Sujeet Kumar is attracting positive reviews for his silicon anode

Photo: Anastasiia Krivenok/Getty

In 2015, I published a book called The Powerhouse, which followed a group of researchers at Argonne National Laboratory as they attempted to create a super battery. Two members of this group had invented NMC, which later became the industry’s go-to battery chemistry, used by everyone except Tesla. Now, it was trying to move to NMC 2.0, a turbo-charged advance of the formulation.


The Supercar, China, and a slew of awards

Outgoing mail in green mailbox with a red flag in upright position.
Outgoing mail in green mailbox with a red flag in upright position.
Photo: madisonwi/E+/Getty

Each Wednesday, The Mobilist highlights reader articles on Medium, comments, and updates.


Step aside, Tesla and QuantumScape

The NIO ET7, the flagship sedan for the Chinese electric car manufacturer, during its launch ceremony in Chengdu, in China’s southwest Sichuan province. Photo: STR/AFP/China OUT/Getty Images

For a good part of last year, lithium-ion batteries attracted perhaps more fanatical attention than at any time since their invention four decades ago. From Wall Street to Omaha, people parsed the latest battery advances by Tesla, a Silicon Valley startup called QuantumScape, and legacy players like GM. Some of the hottest IPOs were startup electric vehicle companies, which sold billions of dollars in equity.


QuantumScape has released its first data, and battery scientists are impressed

A lithium ion battery for the VW ID.3
A lithium ion battery for the VW ID.3
Photo: Jan Woitas/picture alliance/Getty Images

A half century ago, Exxon pioneered, then abandoned a blockbuster new battery based on pure metallic lithium, a light element that packed the most energy punch of anything on the market, but also ignited dangerous explosions. Over the subsequent decades, numerous companies and labs tried to resurrect Exxon’s effort but foundered on the same shoal — the propensity of metallic lithium batteries to short-circuit and catch fire.

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