Battery company Phinergy and aluminum miner Alcoa have teamed up and debuted an EV with a 1,000-mile range. So how’d they do it? The secret is air.
Using a Citroen C1 as the base vehicle, Phinergy and Alcoa co-developed an aluminum-air battery pack that, when combined with an additional lithium-ion battery pack gives it a total driving range of about 1,000 miles. So what’s an aluminum-air battery? It uses aluminum as the anode and oxygen as the cathode with a water-electrolyte solution that is depleted as you drive.
But you don’t “recharge” this EV in the traditional sense, at least not entirely. While the standard lithium-ion battery pack needs to be plugged in to charge, the aluminum-air battery is recharged by replacing aluminum cartridges. That means no waiting around for the battery to reach full capacity; just swap some cartridges and you’re good to go.
That’s not the only benefit of aluminum-air batteries though; the design uses aluminum, and air, two incredibly lightweight substances that make for a featherweight battery. However, given the inability to recharge at home, this technology makes more sense as a replacement range extender, taking gasoline out of the plug-in hybrid equation completely.
One thing not discussed in the press release is cost, and you can probably guess why. As great as this battery technology is, unless the buying public determines it to be affordable, and a good value. For now though, it’s something to look forward to, a day when even our hybrids have ditched fossil fuels for good.
Source: Autoblog Green