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As more and more automakers develop autonomous driving technology, experts believe that the industry needs a single standard sooner rather than later.
Limited range is one of the biggest current deterrents to owning an electric vehicle, but technology heavyweight IBM is hoping to help change that.
In 2009, IBM researchers set out to develop lithium-air battery technology that would allow an electric vehicle to have a range of around 500 miles on a single charge, making them more comparable to a gas-burning car. The idea is that a lithium-air battery would borrow oxygen from the air as a vehicle is being driven, creating an air-breathing battery.
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]