Alcoa and clean tech firm Phinergy debuted a jointly developed electric vehicles featuring an "aluminum-air battery that powers electric cars to greater distances."

The Alcoa-Phinergy electric vehicle lapped the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix Du Canada in Montreal.

Here are a few highlights/lowlights from aluminum air technology:

  • 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
  • Carbon dioxide released within the battery corrodes aluminum
  • Battery must be refilled with water once every 200 or so miles. 
  • Battery consumes the aluminum plates over time. 
  • Plates must be replaced every 1,000 miles or so.
  • Operating/replacement costs of ~$10 per mile
*Editor's Note: Alcoa has contacted InsideEVs to dispute our ~$10 per mile operating/replacement cost claim.  As Alcoa suggests:

"Our Phinergy colleagues would tell you that energy cost per mile of the aluminum to be equal to or less than gasoline."

We doubt this aluminum air tech will work in the real world, but for those interested in learning more, we've included the full press release and video below.

Press blast:

Alcoa and Phinergy Debut Electric Car With Aluminum-Air Battery at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve

Alcoa, Phinergy and Quebec Government Start Discussions Regarding Deployment of Aluminum-Air Battery Technology in the Province

MONTREAL, June 2, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and clean technology company Phinergy today debuted a zero-emissions electric demo car powered by a revolutionary aluminum-air battery at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. Alcoa and Phinergy are collaborating on new materials, processes and components to commercialize the aluminum-air battery, which can extend the distance an electric car travels by approximately 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles).

"Automakers want technologies that enable zero-emission electric cars to travel distances that compete with gasoline-powered cars. The aluminum-air battery has the potential to meet that challenge using fully recyclable material with no CO2 emissions," said Martin Briere, President of Alcoa Canada. "Quebec's focus on growing electric-powered transportation with the goal of being a leader in green technology, provides a strong backdrop for today's debut. Alcoa and Phinergy look forward to collaborating with the Quebec government to advance this technology and the potential development of the aluminum-air battery in the province. Furthermore, our aluminum production facility in Baie-Comeau is well positioned to supply the aluminum for the battery."

Alcoa Phinergy Aluminum Air EV

Alcoa Phinergy Aluminum Air EV

"Electric vehicle adoption has been slowed by the limited range of regular batteries, causing what is commonly known as 'range anxiety'," said Aviv Tzidon, CEO of Phinergy. "With Phinergy's technology, and Alcoa's industrial leadership across both the aluminum value chain and the automotive market, we see an exciting opportunity to help move electric vehicles into the mainstream."

Dr. Raymond J. Kilmer, executive vice-president and chief technology officer at Alcoa, together with Aviv Tzidon, founder and CEO of Phinergy, will present on the air-aluminum battery electric car project at the Canadian International Aluminium Conference (CIAC) in Montreal on June 4 at 9 a.m. EDT. The Alcoa-Phinergy car will be on display at the conference on June 3 and 4.

The aluminum-air battery uses air and water to unlock the energy stored in aluminum. According to Phinergy, just one of the 50 aluminum plates in the battery can power a car for approximately 20 miles, and when used to supplement a lithium-ion battery, can extend vehicle range by approximately 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles). The technology allows an energy density that surpasses conventional battery technologies and creates electric vehicles with travel distances, purchase prices and life-cycle costs that are comparable to fossil-fuel cars.

About Alcoa A global leader in lightweight metals engineering and manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power generation. We pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and today, our 60,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add products made of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products. For more information, visit www.alcoa.com, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Alcoa and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Alcoa.

About Phinergy

Phinergy is an innovative cleantech company and developer of breakthrough metal-air technologies. Drawing on a diverse range of talent and disciplines, the Phinergy team tackles traditional challenges with new and creative methods. The company's aluminum-air energy system offers significant competitive advantages, including high energy density, zero polluting emissions, fully recyclable materials, high safety and low cost.

Phinergy is a leading developer of breakthrough zero-emissions, high energy-density systems based on metal-air energy technologies. The company's primary focus is on aluminum-air and zinc-air batteries. Unlike conventional batteries that carry oxygen, metal-air batteries take in oxygen from the surrounding air to release the energy contained in metals.

Air and Aluminum Range-Extending Batteries

Electric vehicle adoption has been slowed by the limited range of regular batteries, causing what is commonly known as ‘range anxiety’. With technology from tech company Phinergy, and Alcoa’s industrial leadership across both the aluminum value chain and the automotive market, we see an exciting opportunity to help move electric vehicles into the mainstream.

Alcoa and Phinergy have entered into a joint development agreement to further develop Phinergy’s electric vehicle batteries that run on air and aluminum. The companies will collaborate on new materials, processes and components to commercialize the aluminum-air battery, which can extend electric vehicle range by 1,000 miles.

Alcoa’s team engaged on the project is based at the Alcoa Technical Center located outside of Pittsburgh, which is the largest light-metals research facility in the world.

In addition to use in electric vehicles, the battery technology can be used for stationary energy applications such as commercial emergency generators for hospitals and data centers, general purpose generators, and defense applications such as mobile housing and unmanned vehicles. It can also be used for first responders due to its infinite shelf life and high energy density. Phinergy and Alcoa are also working on the aluminum-air technology for these applications.