How Do Lithium Ion Batteries Work?

Electric vehicles are almost all powered by lithium ion batteries, yet most electric vehicle enthusiasts will be unable to tell you how a battery works. You ask any petrol-head how gasoline works and they’ll talk your ear off so we decided to put together a short, simple guide on what a lithium ion battery is and how it works.

Interestingly, it isn’t as complex as you might think. A battery consists of two electrodes and the electrodes of a lithium-ion battery are made of lightweight lithium and carbon. The electrodes in turn are separated by a thin plastic film called a separator and all three elements are maintained in a solution of liquid ether. When you plug your car, cellphone, laptop or motorcycle in to charge the electrons pass into the lithium electrode and from there through the separator and into the carbon, during discharge the electrons move in the opposite direction but this time they move through a circuit, in this case, through a circuit that passes through an electric motor, propelling the car and from there back into the lithium electrode.

For further reading and to learn how to maximize your lithium ion battery life, have a look at this article from HowStuffWorks is easy reading and you can even watch David Pogue explain the ins and outs of good battery life.

Images Via HowStuffWorks


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