Published on December 3rd, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


Toyota Pursues Magnesium-Ion Batteries Due To Breakthrough

December 3rd, 2012 by  

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.

Image Credit: Nissan

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.”

–>Also recommended for you: Advanced Batteries Market to 2020 — Demand for Electric Vehicles to Drive Growth, Asia Pacific to Remain the Major Producer

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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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Metllic Magnesium is not a good idea for batteries, just like lithium (metallic-lithium batteries are also known as LiPo batteries): in case of dendrites formation in the electrolyte, a short circuit happens and all burns up.
    They solved the issue using li-ion electrodes rather tahn metallic-ion electrodes

  • Which gravimetric density (Wh/kg) can be reached?

  • Science Guru

    Nicholas, To the best of my understanding, Magnesium is a flammable metal. I remember that Porsche used Magnesium in the floor of their cars and if there was a short circuit, it would catch fire and could not be extinguished by the fire department. I witnessed this at an auto auction in the 1990’s, the car burned to the ground with the fire department frantically trying to put it out.
    Is there any data about the flammability of the Magnesium batteries?

  • TheRocketSurgeon

    I have repeatedly asked the question of what the air conditioning used on a south Florida summer day does to range and the industry does not answer.

  • stan

    Uh….huh? 200 miles per charge? There aren’t any cars that get over about 90 miles per charge, most are under 60…..except the Tesla and a couple of other expensive ones….tesla relies on it’s structure as a battery….I have no idea where those figures came from….if they were true, we woulodn’t have a world with range anxiety.

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