Charge cycles will be the death of us all. As batteries are continually charged and depleted, its overall capacity begins to diminish, and eventually the battery will need to be replaced. It's one of many issues concerning electric vehicles, but Nissan thinks it might be able to improve battery capacity by using silicon.
According to research done by a team including Nissan Motor Company, Nissan Arc and a number of Japanese research institutions, this new breakthrough involves amorphous silicon monoxide (SiO), which can carry more lithium ions than traditional carbon-based materials, while proving resistant to the deterioration that happens during charging cycles.
This is kind of important in, you know, a lithium ion battery, like the ones underpinning some electric vehicles and a wide variety of consumer electrionics. By holding more lithium ions, battery capacity will rise, which results in greater range for electric vehicles. Of course, there's loads of research and development that needs to happen before a breakthrough in the lab becomes a breakthrough on the road, but it's good to see nevertheless.
If you're interested in a more thorough breakdown of the science behind this, you can check out the full scholarly article, "Atomic-scale disproportionation in amorphous silicon monoxide," in Nature Communications.