Range anxiety is a much-discussed concern among drivers—and potential drivers—of electric vehicles, and in attempt to thwart it, automakers are trying to install more EV charging stations, offering free gas-powered rentals for longer trips and, of course, developing batteries with a substantially longer range. Israeli start-up Phinergy believes they might just have the answer: aluminum-air batteries that can go for thousands of miles on a single charge. This alone might sound like it’s on the ambitious side, but the company believes the batteries could be installed in production vehicles as soon as 2017!
Aluminum-air batteries are nothing new; they create energy through the interaction of oxygen in the air and the metal. An aluminum plate serves as an anode while the ambient oxygen functions as cathode and, as Discovery describes “the aluminum slowly being sacrificed as its molecules combine with oxygen to give off energy.” Phinergy’s current prototype uses a sizable aluminum-air system in the car’s truck to serve as an extender on top of a standard lithium-ion battery. According to Bloomberg, each of the aluminum plates in Phinergy’s prototype has enough capacity to power the car for 20 miles, and the battery holds 50 plates coming in at a weight of 55lbs-while that might sound fairly weighty, it reportedly provides a higher energy density 100 times higher than current lithium-ion EV batteries.