Eternally five years away? No, batteries are improving under your nose

What year, again, does Mr. Fusion show up to compete with Tesla et al?
Enlarge / What year, again, does Mr. Fusion show up to compete with Tesla et al?

Universal Pictures

It’s hard to write about battery research around these parts without hearing certain comments echo before they’re even posted: It’ll never see the market. Cold fusion is eternally 20 years away, and new battery technology is eternally five years away.

That skepticism is understandable when a new battery design promises a revolution, but it risks missing the fact that batteries have gotten better. Lithium-ion batteries have reigned for a while now—that’s true. But “lithium-ion” is a category of batteries that includes a wide variety of technologies, both in terms of batteries in service today and the ones we’ve used previously….


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