Summary: Over 100 years ago the concept of a rechargeable battery was very foreign to the average person. The lithium ion battery has played a large role in powering the technologies used today.
The development of lithium ion batteries has played a key role in the emergence of the small, ultra-portable devices consumers use today.
A Brief History
Today, most people interact with consumer technology in one way or another. Alkaline batteries, popularized by brands like Energizer and Duracell, have been widely used to power up devices. From flashlights to television remote controls, alkaline batteries have dominated in households around the world. The compact sizes of AA and AAA batteries make them convenient to have around the house and easy to swap out. This form of portable power supply is still popular but it is slowly being replaced by rechargeable battery technology.
In 1980, American physicist John Goodenough made a breakthrough in lithium battery technology. He made it possible for the lithium to travel throughout the battery as a lithium ion, thus marking the birth of the lithium ion battery.
Developments in lithium ion battery technology have made it possible to carry around such powerful devices around in backpacks or pockets, because lithium is actually one of the lightest elements that contains a large amount of electromagnetic potential. As such, a great amount of power can be contained within a small amount of space and weigh very little, in comparison to previous batteries.
Compact and Ready to Go
It was not until 1991 when Sony released the first commercial-grade lithium ion battery. Today, lithium ion batteries can be found in a wide variety of units. Manufacturers of smartphones, Bluetooth headphones, laptops, and tablets all make use of this technology to create devices with large rechargeable batteries that still maintain small form factors. These devices can be charged from empty to full hundreds upon hundreds of times by connecting to wall adapters that provide them with a good amount of power in a relatively short amount of time. Portable power banks are also practical battery solutions. An external battery, such as one designed for handheld devices or a Start Pac ground power unit for aircrafts, can help power up a unit in remote locations.
A recent hot topic in the realm of battery technology is the electric car. The concept of moving away from a reliance on gas to power up motor vehicles is looking more attractive to some, as they turn to more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives. Elon Musk’s motor company, Tesla, has been quite popular in the consumer market. The widely popular Tesla Model S actually runs on a lithium ion battery, which can either be charged at home or a Tesla battery station, or replaced altogether at one of said designated stations. These developments are exciting and have the potential to change how the average consumer lives.