Turning the ignition key in a regular fossil car is powered by a lead battery, an invention from 1859.

Lead batteries are reliable and good. But lead tongue. They contain far too little energy per kilo for longer car journeys.

In the early 1900s, batteries were developed based on the elements nickel and cadmium. It was a step forward, but the cadmium batteries are sensitive; they lose their capacity if charged incorrectly.

In addition, cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that, among other things, damages the kidneys.

Can handle many charges

The lithium-ion batteries that are awarded this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry are a superior alternative. Their chemical ingredients are relatively harmless and the batteries can be recharged hundreds of times before capacity drops.

In 1991, a Japanese electronics company began selling lithium-ion batteries for the first time. This immediately led to cell phones shrinking and over time to lots of new rechargeable products, including drives of electric scooter bikes on big city sidewalks.

Norway has come the longest

Right now, lithium-ion batteries are becoming an important alternative to fossil fuels in cars. Norway is the most advanced country in the world. There is plenty of fossil-free hydropower.

Elsewhere, more energy is being used from fossil power stations in the electricity grid, which means that electric cars also ultimately contribute to carbon dioxide emissions.

But lithium-ion batteries can store energy from solar and wind turbines, making them more useful. When the sun goes down in clouds and the wind subsides, the stored energy can even out the weaknesses.

The hunt for the super batteries of the future

Despite all the advantages of the batteries, fossil fuels have so far taken over. Gasoline contains lots of energy, which makes a tank far enough. Calculated per kilo, gasoline is more than fifty times more energy-rich than today's best lithium-ion batteries.

Therefore, intensive hunting for the super batteries of the future is ongoing. The dream is that they should be as energy-rich as gasoline. The difficulties are many. They must be inexpensive, free of harmful substances and also capable of storing large amounts of energy without exploding.

It is most likely that even better batteries can lead to further chemistry prices - in line with Alfred Nobel's pathos of science "to the greatest benefit of mankind."

Read more about the progress of the electric car here.