Battery That Can Power Your Car For 1,000 Miles Is A Reality

Although it’s still in the testing phase, this Aluminum-air battery is indeed capable of powering an electric vehicle for around 1,000 miles. It is made by Phinergy, an Israeli startup that recently signed a contract with an unnamed car company bringing their invention to mass production in 2017.

Phinergy Aluminum-Air

Phinergy’s Aluminium-Air battery isn’t the first Air based type of power source but, unlike other solutions, it has a couple of innovative features never seen before. There are other Air-based battery solutions. IBM is developing a lithium-air battery, also targeting electric vehicles. Zinc-Air battery type is already being used as a power source in hearing aids, and in the future, it can be used for powering pacemakers, body implants and more. All these battery types work much differently than conventional batteries. They use the air around us to start a chemical reaction, providing power. They take the oxygen and use it for oxidization of a metal inside them. This way, there is no need for internal chemical reaction, present in regular battery types, making air batteries much lighter, enabling them to provide much more power compared to regular ones.

Phinergy Aluminum-Air 2

Most external oxidization batteries damage metals which are used as a base, slowly corroding them. But, Phinergy has found a way to stop that from happening. Their Al-Air battery incorporates a solution preventing carbon dioxide to cause damage to the aluminum. In addition to that, this Al-Air battery consumes the aluminum, used as a fuel. It turns the aluminum into an aluminum oxide; providing a long lasting power source that can power an electric car for about 1,000 miles (1600km).

The battery itself is composed out of aluminum plates, each plate capable of providing fuel for 20 miles (32km). There is a total of 50 plates; although this makes the battery relatively big and cumbersome, the usual usage scenario places it inside a vehicle, making its size irrelevant when used in a car.

There is one knotty feature packed into a usual marketing “much better than it really is” statement. You see, when the plates wore out, you have to “mechanically recharge” them. In other, down to earth words, you have to manually replace them. So, there is no need for a power outlet, you just have to take the plates out and replace them with new ones. Oh, and every 200 miles the battery needs to be refilled with water, in order to restock electrolyte source.

So the battery is truly long-lasting, but it can’t be recharged in a usual way, by just hooking it up to a power source. This means that every time battery gets empty you must shelve out money for a new one. This leads us to the price of the actual battery. Each plate weighs 500 grams; since there are 50 plates in each battery, this leads to 25kg of aluminum needed for every battery. The price of one kilo of aluminum is around $2, making the price of aluminum needed $50. $50 for 1,000 miles sounds like a good deal, but this is just the bare aluminum price, without the cost of making the battery, shipping and distribution price.

It seems that guys at Phinergy are aware of this since the main purpose of their Al-Air battery is range extension; a classic, lithium battery will be used as a power source. It is unknown at the moment will a deal that Phinergy signed with unnamed automaker place their battery as a primary power source. Until they work out the problems such are the battery price and a physical recharge, Al-Air battery will stay just another unfinished invention, with loads of potential.

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