Is a 1,000-mile EV battery even possible?  Well, Israeli-based Phinergy claims it certainly is.  Here’s a look at the claims presented:

  • Aluminum-air battery
  • Capable of powering an electric vehicle for up to 1,000 miles
  • Energy density that begins to rival gasoline and diesel
  • Production volumes starting in 2017
  • Signed contract with global automaker
  • Phinergy’s prototype Al-air battery has been tested and proven to work

Phinergy's Aluminum Air Battery.  According to Phinergy, each of the 50 aluminum plates in this battery provides 20 miles of range.  Total range is approximately 1,000 miles.

Phinergy's Aluminum Air Battery.  According to Phinergy, each of the 50 aluminum plates in this battery provides 20 miles of range.  Total range is approximately 1,000 miles.

Okay, all sounds well, but aluminum-air technology is doubtful for several reasons.  First, carbon dioxide released within the battery corrodes aluminum. Second, the battery must be refilled with water once every 200 or so miles.  Third, the battery consumes the aluminum plates over time.  These plates must be replaced every 1,000 miles or so.

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So those are the hurdles, but for Phinergy, the recent signing of a deal with Alcoa could be HUGE.

Phinergy Aluminum Air Demo Vehicle

Phinergy Aluminum Air Demo Vehicle

US-based Alcoa is the world's third largest producer of aluminum.  So, signing a deal with such a monstrous company seems to imply that a workable, commercial product is coming.

As Green Car Congress reports:

"Alcoa and Israel-based Phinergy have entered into a joint development agreement to develop further Phinergy’s aluminum-air batteries. Announced at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Atlanta, the partnership will collaborate on new materials, processes and components to commercialize the aluminum-air battery, which could significantly extend electric vehicle range."

"Aluminium–air cells are high-energy density primary (non-rechargeable) batteries originally developed in the 1960s. Aluminum-air batteries (a type of metal-air cell) use a catalytic air cathode in combination with an electrolyte and an aluminum anode; the systems offer a theoretical specific energy of 8.1 kWh/kg of Al—second only to the Li-air battery (13.0 kWh/kg)."

Dr. Raymond Kilmer, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, commented:

"Alcoa’s extensive technical materials expertise, along with our deep roots in bringing new products to market in the automotive industry, were of great interest to Phinergy as its revolutionary aluminum-air battery moves from research to commercialization. Automotive manufacturers are looking for technologies that enable zero-emission cars to travel the same kinds of distances as gasoline-powered cars. The aluminum-air range extender has the potential to meet that challenge."

Aluminum air batteries could become the range-extender of the future and there's even been hints that Tesla is exploring aluminum air for use in that range-extending application.  If this tech can be commercialized, then the EV world as we know it will forever change.

Source: Green Car Congress