Electric powered vehicles have long faced challenges in battery cell packaging and the difficulties of maximizing range optimizing weight and placement.
In the past, nickel-metal hydride cells failed to store enough energy to propel an EV any more than 100 miles and required a lengthy recharge after the battery depletes. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) does improve the volume-to-energy capacity ratio but automakers must still store battery cells that weigh 1,000 pounds.
Now, technology giant IBM has developed a new battery cell that promises to deliver a solution. Called the lithium-air (Li-air) battery, this new cell has the theoretical density of more than 1,000 greater than Li-ion. What’s more, IBM found the Li-air cells capable of being one-fifth the size and to possess a lifespan that is 5 times as long.
However, IBM withholds the technology for now because they discovered that frequent recharging cycles still compromise the life of the battery. Engineers are currently testing an alternative electrolyte to see whether they could attain improved results. A full-scale prototype is targeted to be ready by 2013.
[Source: New Scientist]