“I keep hearing about battery innovation, but it never makes it to my phone.” – Evan Spiegel
For those that have been in and around alternative energy research for the better part of long careers, nothing makes the eyes roll harder than loud proclamations of breakthrough advances in battery technology. Consider this fun exercise: open up Google, search “battery breakthrough,” click “News,” and customize the results for any random six-month window in the past 20 years. Select an article that catches your eye and you’ll find exciting claims like this one from 2005 (emphasis added throughout):
“A rechargeable battery that can be fully charged in just 6 minutes, lasts 10 times as long as today’s rechargeables and can provide bursts of electricity up to three times more powerful is showing promise in a Nevada lab.
New types of battery are badly needed. Nokia’s chief technologist Yrjö Neuvo warned last year that batteries are failing to keep up with the demands of the increasingly energy-draining features being crammed into mobile devices.”
And another from 2011, with the humorously ironic title “No joke: This is the biggest battery breakthrough ever”:
“A pioneer in battery research who already successfully launched a $350 million company to supply batteries to the likes of GE and Chrysler has done it again — only this time, ‘it’ represents the complete reinvention of battery technology as we know it.
This technology is in the research phase, but if it can be cost-effectively brought to market — and there’s every reason to believe that it could be — it could revolutionize the way we store and transport energy, in the process fully replacing fossil fuels and especially oil.”
(If you have to forewarn that your article is “no joke,” the odds of it being unserious are, as it turns out, pretty high.)
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