Wherever you are right now, whatever device you’re browsing on, and whichever your tech company allegiance, there’s a good chance you’re reading this thanks to the power of modern Lithium-ion battery technology.
Modern day society has been benefitting greatly from the lithium-ion battery. It powers our smart phones, electric vehicles, cameras, and frequently goes unnoticed. It’s been a strong contender in initiatives moving towards total green energy, and has enabled a great step forward in global connectivity.
Yet, we still find ourselves experiencing the problem of our phone’s battery beginning to deteriorate.
Things aren’t perfect.
Imagine, it’s a cold day, you’re standing on a train platform, and you can’t remember which train you’re meant to get on.
You check your email, and all of a sudden your battery is down to 5%.
Then your phone rings, but by the time you answer it, the screen has already gone dark.
This marks a moment of consideration in every phone-owners life – might be time for a new one.
A statistic from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) asserts that more than 3 billion batteries are thrown away each year in the US alone. And it’s found that less than 5% of lithium-ion batteries are successfully recycled due to the complex processing that even still only recovers a minimal amounts of cells.
Lithium-ion batteries are comprised of a slew of metals – cobalt as the most essential, alongside lithium, nickel, and manganese.
Together, these metals are making the metal oxide stew of the battery cell’s cathode – the point where electricity is generated.
With lithium’s extraction operations citing negative environmental impacts and cobalt being an incredibly complex mineral to mine, many ethical questions have been posed surrounding the two resources.
Can we do better than cobalt?
Namely, the cobalt-rich DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) extraction sites. Per kg, cobalt is 30% more expensive than lithium, and almost twice as much as nickel. Citing risky supply chains, it’s no wonder that electric automakers like ourselves here at Zapp, along with Tesla, Toyota, and BMW, are devising a plan with battery suppliers to reduce the amount of cobalt used in batteries and find a substantial nickel alternative moving forward.
But because we pride ourselves in being at the forefront of the electric movement, Zapp knows that we’re going to need A LOT of batteries in the years to come. And with the incendiary tendencies of cobalt, and the chemical properties of nickel that are seen to shorten battery life, of course we have our hands deep in the pockets of more promising alternatives.
Researchers in Sweden and Slovenia have presented a new concept for an aluminum battery that has reduced the production costs and environmental impact of batteries are we know them. The resource can be found naturally in greater abundance. Physicist Patrik Johansson of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden asserts: “The material costs and environmental impacts that we envisage from our new concept are much lower than what we see today, making them feasible for large-scale usage, such as solar cell parks, or storage of wind energy, for example.”
And… our scooter. But the true solution is a combination of things, including strategic and abundant charging stations to ease range anxiety. Zapp scooters, in their essence, are designed to defy age. We have yet to see another electric vehicle concept think so far into the future that they are able to ride alongside the times, adapt swiftly, constantly improve, and easily adopt new, cutting-edge technologies to make your ride (and your conscience) smooth, easy, and reliable.