Lithium Air Battery Will Equal 'Tankful' of Gas

Lithium air batteries would be 87% lighter than today's lithium-ion with up to ten times the energy density

Published: 25-Sep-2012

After watching an episode of Top Gear in which Jeremy Clarkson pushed a Nissan LEAF along a road just outside Lincoln after it ran out of charge, many viewers may not have been convinced that electric cars were the future. Indeed, range anxiety is cited as one of the major barriers between electric vehicles and their widespread public adoption. Where petrol powered cars may travel for up to 500 miles before they run out of fuel, electric vehicles generally only manage 100.

Yet in the early 1900s, electric vehicles were more common than their petrol powered counterparts – and so were steam powered versions, although these allegedly took 45minutes to start. By the 1930s, electric vehicles had all but disappeared as mass production made gasoline powered cars with longer range more widely available and affordable.

However, there could soon be up to 2billion of these fossil fuel powered cars on the road. The question is: can the world sustain this number of vehicles? People want more cars, but there's a strong possibility that conventionally power cars won't be sustainable. Although Clarkson might not be convinced about the future of electric vehicles, researchers from IBM certainly are.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV is powered by Lithium Energy Japan-manufactured batteries.

Addition of new plant and increased capacity of existing plants will produce enough batteries for 120,000 vehicles annually.

Seat IBx plug-in hybrid SUV concept.

Batteries will be built in collaboration with Ficosa for Seat and Volkswagen plants in the Iberian Peninsula.

First generation Toyota Prius uses nickel metal hydride batteries with remarkable durability.

Reader asks Globe and Mail's Richard Russell how long batteries will last in an electric or hybrid car, and what will be replacement cost?


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