Tag Archives: EV Batteries


Electric vehicles (EVs) have become more mainstream in today’s automotive industry, and the next few decades will see automakers electrifying their lineups and emphasizing emission-free cars. Some consumers hesitate to drive EVs because of their battery range, so how will auto manufacturers improve these critical devices? Here’s how far battery technology has come and what to expect in the future.

How Far Has Battery Technology Come for EVs?

The first EVs hit the road in the late 19th century, as inventors used primitive technology to power their machines. One of the first EVs came from Gustave Trouvé, who used a rechargeable battery to power a tricycle in 1880. By 1888, German engineer Andreas Flocken invented the first four-wheel electric car using a motor with about 1 horsepower. While it could only drive 9 mph, Flocken’s machine would be inspirational.

Modern EV batteries date back to 1997 with the EV1 from General Motors (GM). This vehicle didn’t last long on the market — as GM destroyed most of the cars — but its battery technology was critical for future machines. The EV1 used lead-acid batteries and had a range of about 74 miles before needing a charge. Nickel-metal hydride batteries doubled the range to 150 miles thanks to increased efficiency.

These batteries seem primitive by modern standards but were critical for the time and the evolution of battery technology. The inventions set up EVs to have improved technology for today’s EV revolution.

What EV Battery Technology Is Available Today?

Auto manufacturers transitioned from lead-acid to lithium-ion batteries in the 2010s, following Tesla’s success with the Roadster in 2008. The California-based EV manufacturer was the first to use these advanced devices in a car, with each system containing 6,831 lithium-ion cells for increased efficiency.

The Roadster could travel 200 miles on a single charge, giving consumers hope that manufacturers could produce efficient EV batteries and compete with gas-powered cars. Tesla’s innovation led to the Nissan Leaf, the Renault Fluence Z.E. and other mass-produced EVs utilizing advanced technologies.

This decade, EVs have improved their range and become more palatable for consumers needing reliable machines. While electric cars occupy a small market share now, experts say EVs will constitute 45% of new car sales by 2035 — signaling a significant shift in the automotive industry.

Most modern EVs still use lithium-ion batteries because they’re the most efficient mainstream option. However, researchers have found ways to improve battery technology and make electric cars more efficient.

What Does the Future Hold for Battery Technology?

EV demand has slightly slipped after a successful run in the late 2010s and early 2020s. Multiple automakers have announced they are pushing back EV production timelines because consumer desire has dropped. How can automakers pull customers back into buying EVs?

Making batteries more efficient to compete with gas-powered cars is a crucial first step. Additionally, manufacturers must produce more sustainable batteries to comply with environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies. Here are a few innovations on the horizon to improve EV battery technology.


Sodium-ion (Na-ion) batteries are an emerging favorite for lithium-ion alternatives because they cost less and are currently in production in some countries. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says China plans to reach 30 production plants for creating Na-ion batteries, and it won’t be long before this technology spreads worldwide.

Na-ion batteries are advantageous because they contain no lithium, an expensive material for EV production. This alternative is cheaper and more accessible for the average EV driver. Using a Na-ion battery also brings advantages like faster charging and a reduced risk of overheating.


Some question the sustainability of EV batteries, considering their use of cobalt. Much of the world imports this metal from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where workers suffer adverse working conditions. Mining cobalt leads to polluted water and toxic effluents for the employees and surrounding communities.

These controversies have led researchers to develop cobalt-free batteries and boost sustainability. For instance, the University of Texas-Austin has created a battery using 89% nickel, with manganese and aluminum constituting the other elements. These cobalt-free batteries are less expensive and more energy-dense, making them a popular alternative for future developers.


EV batteries can be a liability in extreme hot and cold because the device must work harder to power the car. Using lithium-ion batteries means the liquid electrolyte solution is vulnerable to weather, so how can manufacturers remedy the problem? Solid-state batteries require no liquid or gas in their composition, making them a more stable alternative to lithium-ion devices. Removing liquid also means a reduced chance of leaks under the hood.

Solid-state batteries have existed for a while, but manufacturers like Toyota have improved them thanks to sulfide superionic conductors and other innovations. These batteries aren’t available in current vehicles, but reports say Toyota will implement them for commercial use by 2027. However, timelines could shift due to the supply chain and new research.

Advancing Battery Technology for EVs

Automakers are leaning into EVs to reduce emissions and meet sustainability goals. While technology has evolved, batteries have been an obstacle for consumers due to their perceived lack of range and reliability. Lithium-ion batteries have made EVs more efficient, and more innovations will arrive to boost range and safety.

*This article is written by Jack Shaw. Jack is a seasoned automotive industry writer with over six years of experience. As the senior writer for Modded, he combines his passion for vehicles, manufacturing and technology with his expertise to deliver engaging content that resonates with enthusiasts worldwide.

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Has the trend passed about caring for the environment and preventing harmful emissions?

Despite the fact that GMC is touting its new, 2024 Hummer EV SUV, starting at a cool $80,000 with a 329 range on a full battery charge, Reuters is reporting that the demand for electric vehicles isn’t keeping up with expectations. In October 2023, Honda and General Motors announced they were ending a $5 billion partnership to develop lower-cost EVs. GM says it’s to “enhance the profitability of our EV portfolio and adjust to slowing near-term growth.” Ford, too, just announced it pushed back its EV production timeline because of slower customer demand. Investors are taking notice. Automakers are thrown for a loop.

It’s not for lack of desire for electric vehicles by consumers, auto manufacturers and climate activists alike. Reducing the sting at the gas pump while helping the environment? Bring that on. Indeed, Cox Automotive Report tells us EV sales exceeded 300,000 units in the U.S. in Q3 2023. That’s record numbers.

So, what’s going on?

There are vexing factors swirling around this marketplace, colliding into a miasma of toil and trouble for auto manufacturers.

High interest rates = slowing demand

The current demand slowdown reflects the uncertain economy and the looming shadow of high interest rates (Will they go higher? Will they come down?) driving up the price of the already-expensive EVs. It’s a one-two punch. For most people, the decision to buy a car depends on the affordability of the monthly payment combined with other factors affecting their household budget. The vast majority of us are not rushing out to spend $80K on that Hummer. Maybe a more affordable model? Sure, but with sky-high interest rates driving up the monthly payment of already-expensive vehicles at the same time a pound of ground beef costs upwards of $8, people are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Maybe a gas-fueled car is a better bet right now.

Raw materials shortages for batteries = supply chain issues

As The Buzz EV News recently put it so succinctly, the raw materials that power EV batteries, namely lithium and cobalt, “aren’t exactly littering the landscape.” This, coupled with the fact that 90% of the supply chain for EV batteries runs through China, makes it difficult for U.S. auto manufacturers to realize efficient, profitable production. No one in the industry wants a repeat of the auto microchip shortage during the pandemic.

How is it all affecting auto manufacturers, and what can be done about it? At USCCG, we have a half century of experience dealing with the effects of supply, demand and the economy on many different industries. We work across the entire battery supply chain from mining to metals to battery manufacturing plants. Here’s how we see the issues playing out currently.

Auto manufacturers are doing a 180 (for now), so…

Based on the changing demand, automotive manufacturers are pulling back from EV investment right now and putting it back into traditional auto manufacturing. Even though the industry’s goal is still moving towards a 2030-2035 conversion to EVs, consumers are still buying gas-powered vehicles. Automakers need to maintain production to satisfy the demand.

…Demand and schedule planning is crucial, but…

Automakers’ backlogs need help — they have the orders and demand for gas vehicles, but are struggling to fulfill this demand and fill those orders. At USC, we happen to be the specialists in wrangling schedules, planning for demand when those sands keep shifting, and adding horsepower to teams just when they need it the most. It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation for auto makers, except…

…The skilled labor shortage is real

The new UAW contracts are driving labor costs throughout the industry, even in non-union facilities.  Couple that with the ever-shrinking skilled workforce, and it puts auto makers behind the eight ball just when they need to find and retain quality, reliable employees. At USC, we’ve been focusing on this issue, helping employers train their people on best practices and optimal processes. It’s crucial now, like never before.

EV issues aren’t going away. It’s time to reshore now

Yes, the demand is slowing. For now. But auto makers are still on track for conversion to electric vehicles, and the public still wants them. But these battery and supply chain issues are still plaguing the industry.

A few facts entering into this mix: The current Inflation Reduction Act included billions of dollars in government loans to fund EV battery plants in the U.S., and also included a $7,500 tax credit to people who buy U.S.-made EVs. It also allocated $7.5 billion to fund a network of charging stations around the U.S. (That, in itself is exciting for logistics nerds like us.)

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia is taking advantage of this trend, creating a push for EV jobs, major manufacturers including Hyundai and Kia located in the state, and pledges to make Georgia the “electric mobility capital” of the country.

TechCrunch+ says the U.S. is in an EV battery factory construction “boom” as a result of these initiatives. In 2019, there were just two battery factories here in the U.S. Today, 30 are either planned or under construction.

What does it all mean? It means auto manufacturers need to meet current demand while keeping an eye on the future. USC can help you do that. Contact us today.

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The electric car industry has seen its fair share of bumps in the road. In 2008, Tesla introduced the world to the Tesla Roadster, the first all-electric vehicle to use lithium-ion battery cells. On a single charge, it could travel roughly 200 miles. A mere two years later, the Nissan Leaf debuted, another automobile that entirely ran on electricity and the added benefit of not producing tailpipe emissions — a win for the environment. It maintained a lengthy streak as the top-selling EV nationally and globally.

Fast forward to today, consumers have a litany of additional EVs to choose from, including — but not limited to — the Hyundai Kona, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla S, Karma Revera, BMW i3, and Mitsubishi iMiev. The growth in options is largely due to the ever-advancing state of technological improvements combined with state-of-the-art innovation.

All this being said, the journey to growth for participating automakers has been bumpy, beset by slow sales, manufacturing complications, and production delays. The latest example: Tesla, which is encountering struggles in unveiling the auto industry’s first electric pickup truck.

When word first came down that the Palo Alto, California-based automaker was in the process of developing a pickup capable of running on electricity, CEO Elon Musk didn’t hold back, calling it quite possibly the “coolest car” he’d ever laid eyes on, according to The  Mercury News, a statement he made back in 2018, the same year the yet-to-be-named model was scheduled to arrive in dealerships.

However, in a reply to a questioner on Twitter, which asked Tesla’s CEO when the EV pickup truck would debut, Musk tweeted, “November most likely,” and it may not even be ready by then, industry insiders say.

“Producing EVs can be highly labor intensive and expensive.”

While the automaker remains tightlipped about what’s caused the delay, it may have something to do with manufacturing and development, as the process of producing EVs can be highly labor intensive and expensive. It starts with mining, as in order to run off of electricity, EVs require a number of different rare earth minerals, such as cobalt, nickel, silver, aluminum as well as lithium, which is used for storage cultivation ion batteries. But the rarity of these minerals make them expensive to extract for the metals and mining industry, which manufacturers must pay for when using them in development. Additionally, according to the Institute of Sustainable Futures, the supply of these minerals could eventually run out under a 100% renewable energy scenario that’s laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement.

“Batteries for electric vehicles are the most significant driver of accelerated minerals demand,” researchers for the study concluded in their findings.

Encumbering environmental standards

Another obstacle for car manufacturers are environmental restrictions. In the mid-1970s, following the oil embargo that led to a run on gasoline, the United States Congress passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Within this piece of legislation was the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, which was a set of emission standards manufacturers had to abide by to make fuel-powered automobiles more energy efficient. CAFE standards have been updated on a fairly regular basis since then, with the government requiring mass produced vehicles sold in the U.S. to achieve certain miles-per-gallon milestones. As noted in Encyclopedia Britannica, the CAFE standard in 1985 was 27.5 mpg, which remain unchanged for many years. But by 2013 during President Barack Obama’s administration, the standard was raised to 54.5 mpg, a minimum automakers at the time were expected to reach no later than 2025.

Some of these standards have since been curtailed, but the costs manufacturers spend to ensure their supply abides by government protocols are considerable. These expenses are often passed on to consumers when they buy from dealerships. Indeed, according to a 2016 study conducted by international management firm Arthur D. Little Global, operating a car that runs on electricity costs owners approximately 44% more over a 20-year period than a vehicle with a regular internal combustion engine. That’s the equivalent of more than $20,000. Additionally, the difference in spending is even greater — 66% more — when comparing mid-size battery electric vehicles to mid-size internal combustion engine vehicles.

Sales growth on the slow side

This is part of the reason why electric-vehicle sales have largely failed to live up to expectations in terms of sales. As noted by Edmunds.com, in 2011, President Obama projected 1 million electric vehicles would be on the nation’s roads no later than 2015. Not only was that total not reached by then, it wasn’t until 2016 that the world’s 1 millionth hit the roads, according to Clean Technica. Business Insider reported there are 2.2 million registered for operation in the U.S., based on 2018 figures, but that’s with buyers often taking advantage of government subsidies. On the world’s roads, the total is 5.6 million, according to estimates from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, a Germany-based nonprofit.

Both of these figures are encouraging for automakers, in particular, and the car industry in general, but they aren’t as high as many expected them to be a decade ago. And as a percentage of all the vehicles sold in the U.S., EV represent roughly 1%, according to multiple reports.

“The average electric vehicle in the U.S. sells for around $55,350.”

The selling price of electric cars is partly to blame, which manufacturers ultimately set in order to turn some kind of a profit. Based on the most recent statistics available from vehicle valuation firm Kelley Blue Book, the average electric vehicle in the U.S. — as of August 2019 — sells for around $55,350. That’s more than $30,000 higher than the typical compact automobile and a price tag that’s $38,500 more than the average subcompact car.

Limited mileage per charge

Another issue that’s proving to be a sticking point for car manufacturers is determining how to build and develop EVs so that they run longer on a single charge. Take the Nissan Leaf as a classic example, which as previously mentioned was once the best-selling EV in the nation, a title which now belongs to the Tesla Model 3, according to The Driven.  As Popular Mechanics reported at the time, the Nissan Leaf could course only about 80 miles before needing to be plugged in again. That was a few years ago, but today, most electric cars get just 100 miles for each charge, based on calculations from the Institute of Transportation Studies.

There are mainly miles to go before the electric vehicle’s fate is ultimately determined, and much of it depends on the process improvements that manufacturers can implement to make EVs more appealing to new-car buyers and cheaper to produce. Whether its asset utilization, cost efficiency or sales effectiveness, turn to USC Consulting Group for industry expertise. We can make the road smoother to drive growth and prosperity. Please contact us today to learn more.



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