Scientists working on the latest battery technology are making progress towards solutions that will charge in mere seconds, hold their charge for months if not years, and even fully charge through the air.
Things to look out for in the next few years:
Our devices are growing more advanced each year, with new mobile and tablet devices, as well as the new breed of tech-wearables. More than ever we need batteries that can charge quickly and sustain a constant supply of power for several days. It is commonplace at the moment to see additional power-packs and charging stations located in convenience stores and key city locations. This is a reflection on the extent to which our device-tech has outstripped our battery-tech in the last decade. It’s now long overdue for device batteries to catch-up and the signs are looking very positive.
There are a number of large international projects underway, in sectors as diverse as telecoms, retail, manufacturing, and aviation that are working on closing the gap. Universities in the UK are playing a central role in this too. The close association of F1 and academia in the midlands is leading the way on pushing the limits of what the current generation of power solutions can offer. Formula E is also extending on that to promote future solutions, that while only applicable to large-format housings, will soon be available on the consumer-electrical market.
So where is the hold up? Large manufacturers don’t like to move alone. There are immense costs in adapting designs, establishing new supply-chains, and supporting maintenance and replacements in isolation. Any single business, even at the scale of the largest tech-firms, can find it difficult to single-handedly move forward. We are seeing this very clearly in the mobile phone market. There is can be no doubt that the latest phones are in some ways ‘too powerful’ for their power supplies. However, the structure of the battery market is such that the manufacturers are having the make the best of the options available at scale. Through 2016 and 2017, we will see the first steps in a major shift to high-capacity offerings. Although, we’ll have to wait a little longer to see who will be the first to jump, and rollout some of the bleeding edge battery solutions.
Exciting times ahead!