According to a recent survey people were found to love the idea of electric cars most due to lower impact on the environment, as well as the money saved on gas. However, 65% polled showed that they had ‘range anxiety’ (stranded with no power) that prevented them from purchasing an electric vehicle. It’s with the peoples concern that IBM started their ‘Battery 500 Project’ back in 2009, which could make future generations of batteries capable of traveling 500 miles on a single charge over the current generations’ 100 mile capacity.
Fast-forward to 2012 and Central Glass (materials manufacturing) along with Asahi Kasei (chemical manufacturing) have jumped on-board in developing a new type of lithium-air battery. Lithium-air batteries are designed to take in air (or breathe) as the vehicle is being driven which mixes with lithium-ions on the batteries anode (oxidation). This reaction produces lithium-peroxide which in-turn reduces the oxygen on the nan-carbon matrix layer of the battery thereby creating electricity and putting lithium back onto the anode. This process helps to extend the charge of the battery by storing the electricity created during the chemical reaction. While the development of the battery is still in its infancy, IBM is looking to release their final design to the automotive industry sometime around 2030.
Waiting almost two decades to get a 500 mile range electric car is not acceptable. Oil reserves, depending on who you ask, are predicted to be depleted within the next 12 - 40 years. Oil is an essential part of manufacturing, product composition, and farming. Wasting oil in human transportation, when there is an alternative close at hand, seems like a crime. The Tesla Roadster and Model S both have a 300 mile option already. Double the size of the battery, add solar, and suddenly there is a possible 700 mile electric car. Cost is the true problem. I am sure the IBM Lithium-Air battery will be comparatively expensive when it is released.
Tesla Model S battery (in white/yellow area). Doubling that size does not seem out of the question. (via Tesla Motors)