IBM is on a crusade to change the lithium battery and quell EV range anxiety, a phenomenon shared by 64% of drivers. While nearly all cars and gadgets are powered by lithium-ion packs, IBM has been working on lithium-air technology since 2009. IBM claims this new technology, aptly called Battery 500 technology, will offer ranges of at least 500 miles-per-charge.
According to IBM, a lithium-air battery will work like so:
During discharge (driving), oxygen from the air reacts with lithium ions, forming lithium peroxide on a carbon matrix. Upon recharge, the oxygen is given back to the atmosphere and the lithium goes back onto the anode.
Winfried Wilcke, Senior Manager, Nanoscale Science and Technology, Energy Storage, IBM Research and his team of 20 are intent on developing the first air-breathing battery of its kind. To sum up the technology in a more colorful way, a layer of carbon huffs oxygen as the car travels down the road. The oxygen then seeps down to the lithium layer, creating lithium peroxide. Then, lithium ions are bounced around, creating energy and providing a longer life.
Who knows when this technology will actually make it into the EV segment, but I like the fact that IBM is using a natural source to aid energy longevity.
Check out the Battery 500 Project here.