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Manufacturing Minute: Self-Heating Car Batteries

In this episode, improving electric cars' winter performance.

In this episode, improving electric cars' winter performance. This is your manufacturing minute.

Electric vehicle manufacturers are now able to tout cars that can travel hundreds of miles on a single charge.

But those estimates can go out the window if, like much of the country lately, temperatures plunge below freezing.

Batteries in general don't do well at cold temperatures, and lithium-ion batteries are no exception. As a result, electric cars need larger battery packs to prevent problems with braking, charging and mile ranges.

Researchers from Penn State University, however, could have a solution for so-called "winter range anxiety."

They've developed a battery with a thin nickel foil that quickly reheats the cell when it drops below the freezing mark.

The system can heat itself from 22 below zero to 32 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 seconds, while consuming just over 5 percent of battery capacity. 

Scientists said the battery could also be useful for manufacturers of drones, outdoor robots and even equipment for space travel.

What do you think?

Could this technology encourage the use of electric cars in the snow belt?

What other manufacturing applications could benefit from the new system?

Email us or leave your comments below. 

That’s all the time we have today, but tune in every weekday for your next Manufacturing Minute.

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