While Tesla has been on the forefront of electric vehicle battery technology, company chief Elon Musk recently said that capacitors, not batteries, are the future of EV’s. Musk told a Cleantech Forum in San Francisco that “If I were to make a prediction, I’d think there’s a good chance that it is not batteries. But capacitors.”
Capacitors, like batteries, store energy to be used at a later time. But unlike your standard battery, they deliver quick, intense bursts of energy. As a result, capacitors, or ultracapacitors, can withstand significantly more charge and discharge cycles than batteries and can deliver more power at a time. Capacitors can even be used with batteries.
Considering Musk has built an entire business on batteries, it is definitely worth noting that he thinks capacitors will be the future. According to Gigaom, Musk originally went to California to do research on capacitors at Stanford for advanced ship making and now seems to want to revisit the technology. While a few companies around the world are working on capacitors for electric cars, we clearly have a long way to go before the technology goes mainstream.