Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, recently commented about the future of electric vehicles while speaking at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, saying, “If I were to make a prediction, I’d think there’s a good chance that it is not batteries, but super-capacitors.”

Most electric and hybrid vehicles currently use batteries to store energy, but while lithium-ion batteries provide the range, they have deficits when it comes to power density and lifespan.

elon-musk.jpgElon Musk Tesla Supercapacitors

 

Supercapacitors, also known as ultracapacitors, can be used in combination with batteries to leverage benefits in power density to create a more efficient, more robust overall system. Ultracapacitors are ideally suited to take advantage of regenerative braking, which allows a vehicle to absorb kinetic energy during braking and release that energy during acceleration or hill climbing, and start/stop systems, which enable the engine to shut down when it comes to a stop at a red light or when sitting in traffic.

As a visionary, Musk’s prophetic comments that capacitors “will supersede” batteries are particularly interesting for the supercapacitor market.