Lithium Air Batteries could increase EV range to 500 miles

What is range anxiety? We all know that it’s the driver’s feeling of wonder and suspense at whether they will make it to their destination before their electric vehicle’s batteries die and leave them stranded. Most electric vehicles currently on the market, meaning the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i, have a range of around 100 miles. While most people in North America drive less than 30 miles a day, it would be foolish to think some people didn’t need more than that. An electric vehicle with greater range will always have people interested.

IBM has been working on a battery called lithium-air that could give electric vehicles a range of 500 miles! That’s more than most gasoline cars can offer and would certainly eliminate any range anxiety electric vehicle drivers might currently have.

Lithium-air batteries have a greater energy density than the normal lithium-ion batteries currently used in electric vehicles. Because of this, batteries could be down-size to reduce weight, and still increase the range of the vehicle. At the moment, companies are working on the chemistry of the battery. Lithium is reactive, and explosively reactive when in water. Some companies are working on moisture proof battery membranes and graphene cathodes.

IBM is working to improce the solvent that carries the lithium ions between the anode and the cathode – currently, the electrolytes in the solvent react with air and become depleted over time. IBM thinks it’s found a solution, but isn’t revealing any details yet.

A coalition led by IBM, called Battery 500, hopes to have a full-scale prototype by 2013, and commercial batteries ready by 2020.

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Alan Moeller

By Alan Moeller

EV car evangelist! I read, watch, write, research and chat all things electric cars. Got a lead on a story? Shoot me a message on Facebook.

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