Most contend that the future of electric vehicles depends heavily on the progress made with lithium ion battery technology. But some believe the advancements made with lead-acid batteries could also play a major role in the evolution of EVs.
Fueled by a growing demand for energy, a number of auto suppliers such as Clarios, formerly Johnson Controls Power Solutions, have been exploring ways to advance lead-acid battery technology. The dependability, cost and recyclability of the batteries makes them ideal for EVs, some advocates argue.
The old-school batteries are being used for a number of applications in EVs, providing backup power for critical safety and security features, including hazard lights, power steering and antilock brakes. Lead batteries are also used to store, regulate and ensure power at EV charging stations.
According to a report by research firm Avicenne Energy, global demand for rechargeable batteries is expected to exceed 1 terawatt-hour by 2025, up from 730 gigawatt-hours in 2020, with lead batteries maintaining a large share of the market.
The Consortium for Battery Innovation, a research group that works with companies to advance lead-based battery technology, is looking to increase the cycle life of lead batteries fivefold, to 5,000 cycles, by 2022, which could help to lower the operating costs of EVs.