You say that electric car batteries will make great progress in the coming years. What makes you so sure?
I expect leaps in development in two crucial areas. Firstly, in the storage materials that absorb the energy. A lot is happening here, especially on the anode side, where a composite of graphite and silicon could soon replace pure graphite. As silicon has a storage density that is ten times higher than graphite, the energy content of the batteries would therefore increase significantly. Secondly, improvements are being made to battery design. Specifically, future battery systems could hold significantly more storage material while remaining the same size. This is a critical factor in providing longer ranges.
What role does the much-anticipated solid-state battery play?
The solid-state battery offers the option of replacing the graphite at the negative terminal with metallic lithium, which would increase the range by 30 to 40 percent. This is why the technology is regarded as the Holy Grail of battery research. I also see opportunities, but uncertainties remain because solid-state batteries do not yet exist in an industrial form. I can imagine other open questions on the cost side, for example.
What improvements can car drivers expect?
Electrical ranges of well over 500 kilometres will soon be a matter of course. Even a range of 1,000 kilometres is possible. Overall, the development of the vehicles is on the right track. On the other hand, I see challenges in providing an appropriate charging infrastructure. We need an extensive network of powerful fast charging stations. We need to enable city dwellers without their own wallboxes to conveniently charge an electric car. And we need to standardize pricing when charging on the road. The electric car has the best carbon footprint of all drive types in the passenger car sector – we should therefore ensure that e-mobility prevails.