IBM, electric vehicle battery maker?

IBM, electric vehicle battery maker?

Summary: Some in-the-lab technology being tested by the technology giant offers higher energy density than traditional lithium-ion batteries -- potentially enabling ranges up to 500 miles.

TOPICS: IBM, Hardware

After several years of research, a number of organizations -- including ZDNet sister site SmartPlanet -- are reporting that IBM is moving closer to a breakthrough that could dramatically extend the range of electric vehicles.

The lithium-air technology being worked on in IBM's Almaden research laboratory in San Jose, Calif., could eventually result in batteries that power cars for up to 500 miles on a charge. (Last time I checked, that would be about 200 miles more than I get on my gasoline-powered vehicle, so it should have the effect of getting people to shut up about range as a limiting factor for electric cars.

SmartPlanet Editor Andrew Nusca reports that the IBM lithium-air technology works by using carbon in the positive electrode. The catch has been that the cell is pretty unstable. But the team's research perspective has changed, with the help of some analytics that helped it identify some "alternative electrolytes."

Right now, reports suggest that the first full-scale research prototype could be available by 2013 with commercial editions emerging in the 2020. So, this isn't exactly a technology that would find its way onto roads very soon, but it does make you wonder about which technologies will be benefit from providing electric car components in the future -- and whether or not it matters if they were born out of the automotive industry.

[via SmartPlanet]

Topics: IBM, Hardware

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  • RE: IBM, electric vehicle battery maker?

    Range is always going to be a limiting factor as long as recharge options away from home are limited. How is this going to cause people to 'shut up' about electric vehicle range if its release date is 2020?

    If no one voiced concerns about electric vehicle range, would manufacturers be as interested in improving it? It certainly needs it!
  • RE: IBM, electric vehicle battery maker?

    How many days, for re-charge time, should I allow for a 1200 mile (each way) trip? Range is always an issue. When you reach your +/- 300 mile range you can fill the tank ... takes what 10 minutes? How far are you going to get on a 10 minute recharge?
  • RE: IBM, electric vehicle battery maker?

    There are fast charging stations from Los Angeles to San Francisco that currently gives you 80% in 20mn, or so. Remember 100 years ago also, you couldn't get more than 20 to 40 miles on a full tank. Look how far we've come now, a paltry 300 average. The point of this article is that battery technology is happening and faster than other technologies have done, in the past and now. It will happen...
  • RE: IBM, electric vehicle battery maker?

    "...getting people to shut up about range..."

    Its fine to be an evangelist for technology, but insulting people about real concerns is no way to get people to drink your cool-aid. If the shoe were on the other foot, and 300 mile range electric vehicles dominated the marketplace with recharging stations on every corner, and zero emission gasoline engines with 500 mile ranges were released without ubiquitous gas stations, people would reject them. Try to be objective in your reporting.