What if smartphones were cheaper and had significantly better battery life? That's the question asked – and answered – by a group of MIT researchers that have developed a revolutionary new lithium ion battery.
Dubbed the 24M cell, it’s a more efficient power supply that promises to have five times the storage capacity compared to its conventional counterpart.
“The lithium-ion battery is a brilliant, enabling technology, but its economics are flawed,” explains lead researcher Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang. “It’s prohibitively expensive; it’s cumbersome and inefficient to make; and today’s version is approaching the limits of its cost reductions.”
Chiang was the founder of A123, a battery company that paved the way for cheaper lithium ion batteries before eventually going bankrupt.
There are really only two options to drive down battery manufacturing costs. Either build huge factories for volume production, or try your luck with developing new battery chemistry.
Fortunately, the 24M research group has created a battery that has significant advantages over its conventional lithium ion cousins, as reported by PlanetSave.
For a start, it takes one-fifth of the time to create a 24M cell compared to a standard battery due to the removal of “entire steps” in the manufacturing process.
The research team reckons this simplification means a 24M factory needs just one tenth of the investment that a normal manufacturing plant would need.
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For instance, Tesla is currently spending $5 billion to build a battery factory in Nevada, US. Chiang claims his battery factory would cost just $500 million to produce the same output.
It’s also got the advantage of being environmentally friendly, as the 24M production process is entirely solvent-free and produces cells that are “the most easily recycled” lithium ion batteries ever made.
According to Chiang, the cost of his batteries will hit $85 (£55) per kWh by 2020. That’s in contrast Tesla’s estimated production costs, which are reported to be around $250 (£160) per kWh.
If you’re looking for a phone with a great battery life, our smartphone group test video might be just the thing to help you decide: