Right now, one of the biggest roadblocks to the widespread adoption of electric cars is the cost of the vehicles — which is mostly linked to their very expensive batteries. A group of researchers in Europe wanted to figure out if those costs could be lowered and if so, when. They’ve discovered that if innovation is properly integrated into the electric vehicle (EV) battery industry, the cost of batteries could halve by 2018. In the case of the Nissan Leaf, the battery accounts for just under 1/3 of the total cost of the whole car. Cutting that price tag would do a great deal to make these vehicles more affordable for more people.

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Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany are behind the 200 million Euro project to find systems based solutions for gaps in electric vehicle technology. 250 scientists have been hard at work on the project and will present their findings at the IAA International Motor Show. The researchers’ discoveries are vast and help not only with the cost of the batteries but with the conveniences of living with an EV as your mode of transportation. They’ve developed iron-carbon nanomaterials with twice the energy capacity of conventional materials, which brings the fueling time of the batteries down to one-tenth of the current time and have also developed modular batteries that reduce the cost of mass production.

KIT researchers keep an open door policy on their laboratory and invite industry professionals to work with them, therefore increasing the speed at which they innovate. They call their project “Competence E” and though they say they’ll halve the cost of batteries by 2018, they’re not waiting a moment to bring their innovation to the industry. “It is a central objective of Competence E to rapidly commercialize innovations from Karlsruhe,” said project head Andreas Gutsch. “We are actively approaching industry and will even intensify these efforts. We are conducting excellent research for application, not for the drawer.” If you start seeing EV price tags fall in the near future, more than likely you can give a nod to this team and their dedication to making EVs more affordable.

Via Science Daily