Seems like most electric car batteries available right now have to be plugged every night and last about 20 - 30 miles. The ones that are higher performance are patented, .. which makes them harder to get? I'd like to know more about this: how can i get a higher performance battery, something that maybe doesn't have to be plugged in for a very long time, that would last longer, and also.. can you tell me about (in gross range) pricing for them?
Hi, Sheila! You're right - the batteries in your electric car need to be plugged in to a charger pretty much every night.
This is not a bad thing, though! It's just that we're USED to a certain way of doing things, the Gas-Guzzler Way, which means we take several minutes out of our busy day, a few times a week, to get stinky gas all over our favorite shoes (!) and drop a hundred dollars.
The Electric Car Way is to let the car refuel while we're doing something else. There's either opportunity charging, where we plug in for a while while we're at the store or work; or there's night-time charging, where we plug in while we're cooking dinner and watching Glee.
It's just different and it takes readjustment, but it's kinda nice once you get used to it!
About patented NiMH batteries: It's not so much that they are more expensive, it's that they are illegal to produce!
The documentary film "Who Killed the Electric Car?" exposes the misuse of patents by corporations - in this case Chevron, Cobasys, and GM - in collusion with government regulatory agencies, resulting in excellent NiMH electric car batteries being legally taken off the market until the patents expire.
(Small NiMH batteries are still available legally, and some folks wire a bunch of these together to power a car, but... it's not the same.)
The guy in the video above? He's celebrating his speedometer turning over 100,000 miles in his Rav-4 EV with the original Panasonic NiMH battery pack. As he rightly points out, no matter what we think of today's lithium EV batteries, none of them have achieved 100,000 miles yet!
The best lithium electric car batteries available right now, as far as I'm concerned, are LiFePO4 - Lithium Iron Phosphate.
As of 2011, LiFePO4 EV batteries are as cheap as, or cheaper than, lead-acid batteries per mile. The price is coming down all the time!
If you want to know what the current prices are for LiFePO4 EV batteries, my LiFePO4 article has a contact form for Lithium Storage, a US supplier that I trust.