Lithium-ion battery technology, as used in most electric vehicles, has made impressive gains over the years. Today's cells are cheaper than they have ever been, but lithium-ion still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of energy density compared to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. The liquid electrolytes used in Lithium-ion batteries can leak, and that is not a great thing, whether the material is highly corrosive, as in a lead-acid battery, or highly flammable, as in a lithium-ion battery.
The race has been on to find a battery that uses a solid electrolyte instead, with a particular eye on using them in electric vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz has announced that its new eCitaro and eCitaro G city buses will be available with roof-mounted solid-state battery packs. Mercedes-Benz says that the solid-state pack has a 25-percent higher energy density than even the most advanced lithium-ion chemistry. It also says that the solid-state battery has a much better service life than lithium-ion and is warrantying these batteries for 10 years or an energy throughput of 280MWh. The bus has a range of up to 137 miles (220km) under favourable conditions, or 105 miles (170km) in the depth of winter with the bus's heaters running.
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