Battery advances could double electric car mileage and power

❝ Electric car batteries could soon ditch the liquid electrolyte chemicals of yesteryear for a technology that’s more energy dense, more flame resistant, and optimized for the road. Researchers at Michigan Technological University announced the publication of three new articles this week around solid-state batteries — and the research could give a big boost to electric cars.

❝ Solid-state batteries encompass a variety of techniques, but most of them involve dropping the liquids that conduct electricity and interact with the lithium, replacing them with an alternative, solid material…

The research published this week analyzes the way lithium acts in a battery at scales under 500 nanometers, confirming that the material is surprisingly strong, a stepping stone to what engineers agree is essentially redesigning batteries from scratch. The papers were published in the Journal of Materials Research. Erik Herbert, the lead researcher and assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Technological University, tells Inverse these cells could pose an alternative to current electric car batteries.

RTFA. Too brief and I’ll keep my eyes open for more depth to follow.

Nine of the world’s largest tech firms ain’t anywhere near Silicon Valley


FoxConn data centers

China is now home to nine of the world’s largest public tech companies in terms of market value. They include Alibaba, Tencent, Ant Financial, Baidu, Xiaomi, Didi Chuxing, JD.com, Meituan-Dianping, and Toutiao.

With well over a billion citizens and an ever-growing market, China’s rise in the tech market is understandable. Compared to the United States, the Asian country is outpacing, in leaps and bounds, the number of degrees awarded in science and engineering. This highly skilled labor force is paying off in China’s tech world and its expansion.

Just five years ago the Asian giant had only two of the world’s biggest public tech companies in market value. The United States boasted nine of the largest.

I know all of the rationales Americans – more than any Westerners outside of the UK – roll out to disparage faster and more dynamic growth in Asian countries. I worked for American and British firms sourced significantly from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China over a few decades. Some of the crap excuses worked for a few years; but, in every case, the reason those producers ran right past their Anglo-American counterparts was higher standards, a willingness to invest time and money in education, trained staff to accomplish product development and production more efficiently.

The single best example, nowadays, would be FoxConn – a Taiwan company mostly manufacturing in Mainland China. Ask anyone with knowledge of American manufacturing and assembly experience how long it takes to completely switchover a plant from one product line to another? You’ll get an answer measured in weeks. FoxConn takes hours, perhaps a couple of days. Because they will pay 1500 process engineers to takeover that plant floor and rollout a changeover in that time frame. I don’t know any American firms that can scrape together that many spare engineering staff – or would.

And I don’t know of any state in the GOUSA that’s capable of or concerned about educating engineers or researchers ready to develop similar systems here in the US – or in the UK. Yes, cultures are different in many ways. But, I’m just offering real reasons why we don’t compete.