As every mobile-phone owner knows, after a year or so the battery starts to fade and the beast needs recharging more frequently. That is a nuisance, but a phone’s batteries can be replaced fairly cheaply—or the whole handset traded in for the latest model. An electric car, however, is a much bigger investment. And batteries are its priciest component, representing around 30% of an average mid-size vehicle. Apart from increasing the risk of running out of juice and leaving a driver stranded, a deteriorating battery quickly destroys a car’s second-hand value. To provide buyers with some peace of mind, carmakers guarantee their batteries, typically for eight years or around 200,000km. Producers are now, though, planning to go much further than that, with the launch of “million mile” (1.6m kilometre) batteries. Zeng Yuqun, the boss of Contemporary Amperex Technology, a giant Chinese firm which produces batteries for a number of carmakers, said in June that his company was ready to start manufacturing batteries which would last for 16 years or 2m kilometres. Elon Musk has hinted that Tesla, a Californian maker of electric vehicles of which he is boss, has a million-mile battery in the works.
Economist 1st Aug 2020 read more »