Today’s lithium-ion batteries are much better than NiMH batteries, but don’t offer enough energy storage to overcome 100 miles range without a long time recharge. With lithium-ion batteries the challenge is their weight.
IBM comes with a solution of promising new lithium-air battery. According to the technology giant, a typical lithium-air battery cell has a theoretical energy density more than 1,000 times greater than today’s industry-standard Lithium-ion battery cell.
Even better, lithium-air batteries are one-fifth the size and they offer a lifespan at least five times as long.
So, what has been holding IBM back?
It appears that there was a problem with the original lithium-air automotive application, as frequent recharging cycles compromised battery life. However, the engineers have recently found alternative electrolyte compounds that look very promising.
The team’s goal is to have a full-scale prototype ready by 2013, with commercial batteries on sale by the end of the decade.