Electric cars sound great with the sky-high gas prices of late, but as far as convenience goes, there’s always the issue of distance on a single charge.
But that might not be an issue any longer with IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) new lithium air battery research.
Teaming up with Asahi Kasei (TYO: 3407) and Central Glass (TYO: 4044), the company will work on what it calls the Battery 500 project—a lithium air battery that would allow a 500-mile range.
This battery would work differently than regular lithium ion batteries, instead using oxygen to react with lithium ions and create the electric charge. Scientists have been working on this concept for years, and IBM is hoping to have a demonstration by next year.
Winfried Wilcke, IBM’s principle investigator, said:
“Unlike what we originally thought, we know we have a really good electrochemical reaction. The problems are now secondary. There are still tremendous engineering challenges ahead so there’s no hope of it happening in this decade.”
But there’s certainly hope of it happening. And it would provide this kind of mileage even to family-sized vehicles.
Right now, many family-sized electric vehicles can travel only 75 to 100 miles per charge. More sporty models, like Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model S, can get 300 miles.
But 500 would break records.
Cost is still something to factor in, and Wilcke said the company could not be sure of how high this will be yet. And because it’s such an enormous improvement over current capacity, it comes with high risks.
But Wilcke was confident about his company’s capability. Though it might be a while before working models hit the market, it makes for a promising future.
Tomorrow’s Electric Cars Will Travel 500 Miles on a Single Charge originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the first advisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative and renewable energies.