Aluminium-Air Batteries

The internet, or at least the parts of it that show interest in EVs, were all buzzing last week over an announcement from a UK based inventor that he had created a battery capable of driving an EV 1,500 miles. Furthermore, he has found a company to bring this battery to production.

This battery has much higher energy density than current Li-Ion technology, and, while Al-Air batteries have existed for a long time, this latest development solves a couple of the issues that made them impractical previously: namely, they required very pure aluminium and the electrolyte used was caustic.

As with everything, there are some caveats. The biggest of which is that these batteries are not rechargeable. That means that once you’ve done your 1,500 miles, it won’t be simply a matter of plugging the car in at a rapid charger to drive home. Instead, the battery will need to be swapped out. Also, no topping at the mall while shopping, or coming down to a full battery each morning at home; things current EV drivers have become used to.

Time will tell if this new battery technology will replace Li-Ion. If the battery swap can be made as fast as filling the fuel tank in an ICE car, there may well be those who find this model more appealing. Particularly those who sell fuel today. On the flip side, driver logistics would be much more complex since you do not get to keep the charge in the old battery. From a driver perspective, it would be important to wait until the last moment to change the pack, to minimize the price per mile.

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