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Scientists make 'significant breakthrough' in creating longer-lasting EV batteries: 'Could have a major impact'

A third of drivers worldwide are concerned about driving long distances in an electric vehicle.

Lithium plating, creating longer-lasting EV batteries

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Sales of electric vehicles are increasing year upon year, but improvements in battery technologies are still necessary to provide greater efficiency and to draw in new customers. 

According to data from IEA in an Al Jazeera report, nearly three out of every 20 cars sold worldwide in 2022 were electric models, with 14 million EVs expected to be bought by the end of 2023. 

With the market thriving, the time to make refinements is now, and research is being conducted across the industry to improve charging times and range. 

One way to do that is to solve the problem of lithium plating, which can slow down the charging process. 

In research published by Nature Communications, a study led by Dr. Xuekun Lu of Queen Mary University of London found a way to prevent lithium plating, which occurs during the rapid charging of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.  

"This is a significant breakthrough that could have a major impact on the future of electric vehicles," Lu said in a statement

Lu and a team of scientists from the United Kingdom and the United States found that lithium plating can be mitigated by improving the microstructure of the graphite negative electrode. 

In addition to allowing for faster charging times, it's said the findings could improve the energy density of batteries, allowing electric cars to travel a greater distance on a single charge. 

According to the World Economic Forum, one of the biggest factors that hinders EV purchases is concerns about driving range — sometimes referred to as range anxiety

Citing data from a survey by EY, a professional services company, the World Economic Forum noted around a third of drivers worldwide are concerned about driving long distances in an electric vehicle. 

However, improved charging times and increased energy storage capacity could be achieved by minimizing the possibility of lithium plating.

Greater access to electric charging points will further help optimism about the capabilities of EVs. In the U.S., the government has announced the intention to create a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers nationwide. 

In all, this is great news for the future takeup and performance of electric cars. EVs produce zero tailpipe pollution, making them much kinder to the environment than dirty-fuel alternatives. 

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