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Simona Onori: How ready are we for our electric future?

An expert in energy resources engineering says “battery biopsies” are key to a tomorrow filled with electric vehicles.

A row of electric car charging stations covered by solar panels on a sunny day

Engineers are concerned about everything from the availability of raw materials to how many miles can I go before I run out of juice? | iStock/Jeff_Hu

It now seems more certain than ever that the world will make the all-important transition to electric vehicles, but that shift raises important questions about global preparedness.

The world is going to need a lot of batteries to make it happen and engineers are rightly concerned about everything from the availability of raw materials to how many miles can I drive before I run out of juice?

Simona Onori is an electrical engineer by training and a professor of energy resources engineering as well as an expert in creating computer models of what that electric future will look like. For instance, she is developing mathematical battery management systems that assess the internal chemistry of a battery to predict how much life is left in it, how safe it is and, yes, how long until that next charge is needed.

Onori likens her analyses to “battery biopsies” that can help engineers and everyday drivers get more life out of their batteries. Don’t fret, our electric future is in good hands, Onori reassures listeners in this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everythingpodcast with host Russ Altman. Listen and subscribe here.