I don’t want to get your hopes up too much, but… Citroen has tested an aluminium-air battery in an electric car and the claims are that it can travel 1,000 miles with this innovation!
This is not a range of 1,000 miles per charge, but this is a type of extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology.
The car has lithium-ion batteries that enable it to travel 100 miles per charge, and if the driver needs to make rare trips that are longer than 100 miles, she or he can use the aluminium-air batteries to travel an additional 1,000 miles or so.
The aluminium-air batteries (from Phinergy) are not rechargeable in the conventional sense, however. They have to be refilled with distilled water every 200 miles.
The aluminium-air batteries are strictly for backup. If you want to make long trips often, these batteries should not be used. They just prevent stranding, and facilitate occasional long trips. This is because these batteries’ aluminium electrodes are depleted with use. They have to be replaced more often than conventional EV batteries.
The aluminium-air batteries have an energy density 100 times greater than that of today’s lithium-ion batteries, and they are also lighter than backup gasoline-fueled generators.
The aluminium-air battery bank (pack) weighs only 55 pounds. Each of the aluminium plates in this battery pack can power the car for 20 miles, and the test car has 50 of those plates (50 plates x 20 miles = 1,000 miles).
From an environmental standpoint, there is the possibility that the environmental impact of mining the aluminium to replace these non-rechargeable batteries might outweigh the benefits of it. I’m not aware if that has yet been studied, but I know that the process of mining and preparing alumina (this is what aluminium comes from) is very energy intensive.
Rechargeable aluminium-air batteries would be amazing, though, wouldn’t they?
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