Toyota is now pursuing magnesium-ion battery technology because a breakthrough means that it can now be cheaper and more energy-dense, translating to longer than average range for electric vehicles that use them.
Safety was not mentioned, but if they are as safe as lithium-ion batteries, that is surely acceptable.
The anode of these magnesium-ion batteries is made of tin, and they use the same electrolytes as lithium-ion batteries.
Magnesium-ion batteries are more energy dense because they have a positive charge of two, unlike one for lithium-ion batteries. Magnesium is an abundant material. This is also important to the sustainability and cost of the batteries. Lithium-ion car batteries usually cost $0.50 per Wh of energy storage capacity. It’s unclear yet what the cost of these magnesium-ion batteries is.
“The potential is definitely there,” Singh says. “There are some improvements we need to make to its performance, which we’ve addressed in the paper as well. But overall, we’re very excited.”
Lithium-ion batteries are what many would probably consider lifesavers for the electric vehicle industry, because they make it possible for the vehicles to be fast and efficient, and they facilitate range exceeding 200 miles per charge, or even 300 miles in the case of the Tesla Model S.
Older lead-acid battery technology achieved extremely short range (short as in 30-40 miles), poor efficiency (as low as 50%, meaning that they wasted half the energy that passed through them), poor performance due to their sluggish rate of discharge, and a relatively short lifespan.
Despite all of this, the limitations of lithium-ion batteries are the official problem holding back the electric vehicle industry. A lack of good battery technology has been the limitation of electric vehicles from day one.
Source: Technology Review
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