Lithium ion capacitors and advanced thermoelectrics will expand the use of hybrid and electric cars

A lithium-ion capacitor (LIC) is a hybrid type of capacitor out of the family of the supercapacitors. Activated carbon is used as cathode. The anode of the LIC consists of carbon material which is pre-doped with lithium ion. A lithium-ion capacitor is a hybrid electrochemical energy storage device which combines the intercalation mechanism of a lithium ion battery with the cathode of an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC). The packaged energy density of an LIC is approximately 20 Wh/kg generally four times higher than an EDLC and five times lower than a lithium ion battery. The power density however has been shown to match that of EDLCs able to completely discharge in seconds.

IDTechEx predicts that lithium-ion capacitors (supercabatteries) will be combined with advanced thermoelectrics to make a breakthrough for electric and hybrid vehicles.

So far thermoelectrics have been a failure in cars — for instance, after 20 years of research BMW was only able to achieve about one tenth of the theoretical maximum — about 3 percent, according to Harrop. But in 2014 the Japanese maker of giant construction vehicles, Komatsu KELK, was able to prove that 1.5KW could be recovered with thermoelectric innovations that doubled their efficiency to 7.5 percent. IDTechExj predicts that thermoelectric energy harvesting will become commonplace on commercial busses and hybrid cars by 2018. The largest vehicles will take advantage of the technology first, because they generate enough heat to make thermoelectrics useful.

By 2025 IDTechEx predicts 9 million hybrid electric cars will use thermoelectrics and by 2030 hybrids will continue to outsell pure electric vehicles simply because they do not produce enough heat to take advantage of the advanced thermoelectric materials available by then.

Conventional gas powered cars, which will still be outselling hybrids and pure electrics in 2030, will also be taking advantage of thermoelectrics to power the heater, ventilation motors and other electric-powered accessories in even convention gas guzzlers.

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