In the race to create a mass market, widely adopted electric car, companies have realized that they need improvements in one crucial area: battery life. That one area is truly the gateway to wider electric car adoption.
Without a powerful and long-lasting battery, a car can’t do all the things we expect a car to do. This reveals an important lesson for cell phone manufacturers. Our cell phones can do more than ever before. They can be our MP3 players, our digital cameras, our organizers — they can, in short, be our personal assistants.
As cell phone processors become more powerful, we’ll be able to do even more with them. That little device that fits comfortably in our pockets can be a device that takes the places of several other ones. But there’s just one problem. The battery just doesn’t last long enough. True, some smartphones handle a battery’s DC power fairly well.
The iPhone, with its closed architecture and hard-wired battery, can last a full day with relatively heavy usage. Android handsets, on the other hand, suffer greatly in terms of battery life. With their increased power — we’ll see plenty of quad-core processors in 2012 — battery life could become a huge issue for future development.
Electric car manufacturers understand this limitation. Or, rather, innovative companies understand that electric car manufacturers can’t go far without better batteries. One such company, Envia Systems, has developed technology that not only reduces the costs of batteries, but also allows for a greater capacity. They stay stable at higher voltage levels, and they allow the car to run for longer. That’s the kind of innovation that we need for smartphones.
Chances are, it will take a company such as Envia to help bolster smartphone battery life. Whatever company successfully finds a solution will find itself wealthy indeed. Manufacturers will love this, because it allows them to make more powerful and feature-rich smartphones. But most of all, manufacturers will love this because consumers will love it.
Greater battery life might not seem like a sexy feature, but explained in terms of benefits — longer running phone, the ability to carry fewer other gadgets, etc. — it becomes a much better selling point. The day is surely coming, too. It won’t be long before we realize that these new quad-core phones simply need more juice to run optimally.
If there’s money in it, some company will figure it out. Hopefully, there are a few already hard at work, improving potential battery life for future smartphones.