The possibilities are intriguing!
Electric motorcycles are getting better all the time. Just look at the Energica Eva Ribelle, in which the company introduced its first 21.5kWh lithium polymer battery, and which it claims has a combined city and highway range of almost 143 miles. It doesn’t hurt that the bike is easy on the eyes, either—but just think what all kinds of bike manufacturers could do with long-range, flexible batteries.
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South Korean company Jenax has been working on a flexible lithium polymer battery called J.Flex for several years now, with some very preliminary media coverage starting around 2015. The company brought it to CES 2020 to demonstrate its potential applications. Clothing, wearable devices, medical applications—with this foldable, scrunchable form factor, those types of uses all immediately come to mind.
Flexibility is nice, but what about overheating, leaking, and the potential to catch fire? That’s where the J.Flex truly shines—in ways you’d feel comfortable about wearing on your body, as well as riding on a bumper-to-bumper commute. The safety tests in this video demonstrate the kinds of abuse J.Flex can withstand without leaking or catching fire, due in part to its unique gel polymer electrolyte construction. Even multiple violent punctures don’t make this thing immediately become unsafe! It’s pretty impressive, I’m not gonna lie.
According to IEEE Spectrum, while Jenax’s achievements are impressive—and the company has over 100 patents on its battery technology alone—it’s of course not the only company currently working on flexible battery solutions. Panasonic, Samsung, and STMicroelectronics are just some of the others that are currently coming up with their own solutions in this vein. If they can perform the way the J.Flex batteries seem to do, future developments will be very interesting indeed.
Batteries currently in use on electric motorcycles are mostly big blocks, of one kind or another. Just imagine what kinds of designs will be possible if batteries like this can be used to power them! That, of course, assumes that the pricing for this technology isn’t overly prohibitive, and also that the energy density levels are sufficient to offer reasonable ranges for motorbike use. All new technologies start out expensively, and then prices fall into more affordable ranges over time and with further development—so this isn’t an unreasonable dream, at all.