Researchers recently found out to what extent rest periods can extend the lifespan of lithium metal-based electric car batteries.

Batteries are playing an increasingly important role in the energy transition. Because without energy storage, smartphones would be useless and electric vehicles would remain in the garage. But using classic batteries also poses a number of problems – after all, their service life is reduced with every charging cycle.

But researchers at Stanford University recently found a way to extend the life of a lithium metal battery for electric vehicles. To do this, they discharged an energy storage device and left it to rest for a few hours. The study, published in the journal Nature, shows that this simple approach can restore battery capacity.

The service life of lithium metal-based electric car batteries is not yet competitive

The overall performance of the battery also increased due to the rest time. This discovery could help manufacturers adapt lithium metal batteries to real-world driving conditions. Ultimately, the technology has the potential to double the range of electric cars. Until now, batteries quickly lost their ability to store energy after just a few charge and discharge cycles.

This circumstance made the batteries unusable for everyday use. Unlike traditional lithium-ion batteries, which consist of two electrodes, a lithium metal battery replaces the graphite anode with a lithium metal. This allows the battery to store twice the amount of energy with the same volume.

Complete discharge and rest time promises long service life

As a result, the energy storage devices are lighter, which can be crucial for electric cars. The research team found that the electrolyte isolated and trapped small pieces after discharge. By completely discharging the battery and leaving it idle for an hour, some of the particles recharged.

This enables the use of previously “dead” lithium. This means the battery can generate more energy and has a longer service life. The discovery could pave the way for significant improvements in the cycle life of lithium metal batteries.

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