Yesterday we wrote about the conundrum between getting enough electric vehicles (EV) on the road and installing plug-in stations to support them. If EV batteries can last longer on a single charge, we wouldn’t have to install such an extensive charging infrastructure. The Battery 500 Project, launched today by IBM in San Jose, CA, aims to boost the capacity of EV batteries from under 100 miles per charge to at least 500 miles. It’s an initiative that could also cut down on headaches generated by the multiple hours-long charging time of EVs today.
Instead of focusing on lithium ion battery technology–a technology favored by many EV manufacturers–IBM’s consortium of scientists from U.S. universities and the Department of Energy will use nanoscale semiconductors to increase the storage density of lithium-air batteries by 10 times the density of batteries available now. IBM will also make use of its world-famous supercomputers to test different design parameters and catalyst materials without building real-world models.
The Battery 500 Project, which sprung from an internal “grand challenge” initiated by IBM’s Almaden Lab, will take two years to determine whether lithium-air batteries make the grade. By that time, thousands of lithium-ion powered PHEVs and EVs will be gearing up for production. But at the very least, IBM’s project could ensure that the next generation of electric cars are cross-country roadtrip-friendly.
[Via Smarter Technology]