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How Does a Battery Work? | Basic Things You Should Know

How Does a Car Battery Work? | Basic Things About Electric Vehicles

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Lithium-ion batteries, alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries, and others are present in our daily lives.
Ultimate Guide to Understanding Car Batteries

Batteries work in our cell phones, portable devices, and more recently, in electric trucks and cars. Many experts are currently looking to “convert” traditional, gasoline-powered cars into cars with hydrogen fuel cells, which are a kind of battery.

While battery technology is available in many areas of our lives, some people still don’t know how these work, and terms like “electric current,” “dry cell batteries,” “nicad battery,” and more, can be confusing. The truth is, however, the process isn’t that hard to understand, which is why this article will walk you through how these items process electrical energy to power up tools, devices, and many more things.

A battery is, in essence, an item that can store chemical energy and convert it to electrical energy. This process involves chemical reaction that makes battery electrons flow from the positive terminal to the negative terminal through an external circuit. Overall, the flow of electrons and their chemical reactions form an electrical current in the electrochemical cell, which is then used to power tools or other things.

Understanding Electrodes in the Formation of Electrical Energy

The electrodes are the areas where the electrons will flow from and to. The negative electrode is called the “anode,” and the positive electrode is called the “cathode.” In essence, the positive electrode involves a carbon rod surrounded by carbon powder and manganese dioxide. Overall, there’s a chemical reaction in both electrodes. In the anode (negative electrode), the electrode will react with electrolytes, creating electrons that will accumulate there.

On the other hand, in the cathode (positive electrode), other chemical reactions will allow the electrode to receive the electrons that come from the anode. Some of the chemicals available in electrolytes that allow the flow of electrons include potassium hydroxide, chloride, and sodium. However, depending on the type of battery, you may see different chemicals, including manganese oxide, ammonium chloride, citric acid, sulfuric acid, and more.

Difference Between Non-rechargeable and Rechargeable Batteries

The name of the devices makes it self-explanatory. Overall, non-rechargeable batteries (or disposable batteries) can only be used to power up devices once. How much energy they have depends on the type. When the battery gets completely discharged, you must throw them away.

This simple battery generates an electric current that may power up devices like radios, watches, toys, and more. These can also produce electricity to power up devices like a traditional camera or a particular light bulb.

On the other hand, a rechargeable battery, as its name suggests, can be used over and over since it can reverse the chemical energy that drives electrons through the circuit. One of the most popular types of these batteries is the lithium-ion battery. Lithium batteries are the ones used to power up mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

Once the energy storage in a battery like this runs out, you can plug it into an external source that reverses the electrons from the positive terminal to the negative terminal; the process known as “charging.” These batteries power up several devices today, including electric trucks and cars, which is why they’re considered the “modern battery.” Still, batteries may get used for particular purposes.

Are There Other Types of Batteries Aside from the Lithium Ion Battery?

Absolutely! There are different types of batteries depending on the purpose. Although you may not notice the difference at first glance, they may be used for different purposes.

In the case of a rechargeable battery, you can expect the following types:

  • Lead-acid battery

  • Nickel metal hydride battery

  • Lithium lithium-ion

On the other hand, we have the following types of batteries for non-rechargeable ones:

  • Zinc-carbon battery (or standard carbon battery)

  • Alkaline battery

  • Leclanché

Lithium Ion Batteries and Electric Cars and Trucks

As you may have already guessed, the electrochemical cells used in most electric vehicles are the lithium-ion ones. This is because they have a higher energy-per-unit mass compared to other electrical storage systems.

Moreover, these batteries have high energy efficiency, good performance in high temperatures, and low self-discharge. Still, these aren’t the only power source for EVs since other batteries that can produce enough electrical energy to power them up include solid-state batteries, although lithium-ion ones are more popular.

Overall, EVs have proven to be an excellent alternative to traditional, gasoline-powered cars due to several reasons. However, the fact that they use electrical charge and stored energy to run instead of gasoline translates to a cleaner environment and much lower running costs.

Difference Between Batteries and Fuel Cells for EVs

Although they may seem similar, some people are looking at the possibility of using hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles instead of batteries. The main difference between the two items is that a battery can store energy, whereas the fuel cell can continually produce electricity and heat as long as you provide them with fuel.

In other words, a fuel cell doesn’t need recharging as a regular battery would. In the case of hydrogen fuel cells, they convert hydrogen and oxygen into water, producing electricity. If the system keeps receiving oxygen and hydrogen, the fuel cell will never run out of energy. Hydrogen fuel cells would be excellent options, considering they would potentially reduce harmful emissions. Still, we may have to wait some time until we start seeing cars with this new system implemented in them.

This is because, to make cars with hydrogen fuel cells, manufacturers would have to change their vehicles’ technology, fuel supply, and fuel distribution systems. John Heywood, director of the Sloan Automotive Research Laboratory, explains that, while changing gasoline-powered cars for hydrogen fuel cell cars can definitely happen, it’s not something that may happen soon.

Overall, making the change is too challenging and costly, which is why Heywood thinks that it would make more sense to start making changes in long-haul trucks or large diesel vehicles.

Contacting Ehline Law for Any Queries Around Defective Batteries

As you know now, there are different chemical reactions when it comes to batteries. In the case of EVs, using batteries has proven to be a nice alternative to what we already have. However, there may be some cases of defective batteries that may affect you or your loved ones. Even if you understand how batteries work, it may be nice to have some legal help in case these battery-powered devices fail.

You may seek help from the Ehline Law Firm by calling (833) LETS-SUE today!


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Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 596-9642
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