The Secret to Better Electric Car Batteries? It’s Water

There are a lot of great things about electric cars: they’re efficient, they’re eco-friendly, and they help you save a whole lot of money that would otherwise go to paying for gas. The one thing they aren’t well known for, however, is speed. Though electric cars can generally hit the speeds required to travel safely and legally on streets and highways, they aren’t exactly blessed with overwhelming power or acceleration, either.

That could be about to change, however, as researchers believe they have now found a way to give electric car batteries a big boost in power. The secret ingredient? Water. Here’s our Spencer Chevrolet team’s summary of the big announcement.

A Better Battery?

Better Electric Car Batteries

The big announcement comes out of North Carolina State University, where researchers have discovered, according to the university’s press release,

“a material which incorporates atomically thin layers of water is able to store and deliver energy much more quickly than the same material that doesn’t include the water layers.”

As part of their experiments, the NCSU researchers compared two materials that could potentially be used in rechargeable car batteries. The first was a crystalline tungsten oxide, while the second was a layered, crystalline tungsten oxide hydrate where the layers were separated by atomically thin layers of water.

When both materials were charged, they discovered something interesting: The regular tungsten oxide crystals were able to store more energy, overall, but when the materials were charged for shorter periods, the layered material showed more promise. If charged for 12 seconds, the layered tungsten oxide hydrate both stored energy more efficiently and wasted less heat in the process.

So what does this mean? It means that the material separated by layers of water was able to not only store high amounts of energy but was also able to move ions very carefully—which creates a higher energy output.

According to one of the research team:

“Incorporating these solvent layers could be a new strategy for high-powered energy-storage devices that make use of layered materials. We think the water layer acts as a pathway that facilitates the transfer of ions through the material.”

In other words, this discovery could lead to electric car batteries that produce a larger amount of power than those currently in use. That would mean not only could future batteries be smaller, but that future electric cars could be capable of faster acceleration. According to some estimates, this discovery could lead to electric cars that are actually able to outperform gas and diesel-based vehicles—over short distances, anyway.

Better Electric Car

The more innovations like these around electric car batteries that occur in the future, the more electric vehicles will be able to compete with their gasoline-guzzling counterparts, and the more electric cars will become popular with consumers who like the idea of paying less for gas but don’t want to sacrifice on power and acceleration.

Want to learn more about Chevy’s current crop of electric vehicles? Contact Community Chevy today at 812-829-4843.