Thursday 27 October 2016

New battery could be 'range changer' for electric cars; fuel-cell advances

Published 04/11/2015 | 02:30

Toyota Mirai
Toyota Mirai

The development of a lithium oxygen battery could mark a major milestone along the way to much longer intervals between charges for electric cars.

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The development, by a group of British scientists, means lithium ion batteries in electric cars could be replaced by a far more advanced system.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge made public their creation of the lithium-oxygen prototype recently.

They say the new battery would clear several hurdles currently restraining battery technology, such as price, power and size.

The scientists also claim the energy density of the new batteries could be 10 times higher than their lithium ion counterparts. And they estimate it would elevate the distances of travel between charges to many hundreds of kilometres.

Range anxiety, as we all know, is one of the major reasons there hasn't been as big a take-up of electric vehicles as carmakers and authorities would have hoped.

* Meantime, BMW says it has developed a way of compressing hydrogen to increase the range of its first production fuel-cell vehicle.

We are likely to see it manifested in a large saloon by around 2020.

BMW is working in partnership with Toyota on compressing hydrogen at really low temperatures so that more of the gas can be stored.

The German marque is using a Toyota-developed fuel cell stack for its research and work. Toyota's Mirai (pictured), reviewed here recently, can cover up to 500km on one 'fill' of hydrogen fuel. The marque hopes that it will have a few models on Irish roads within the next few years.

Now BMW is saying its research suggests it can get more than that but it will take a few more years to perfect.

* And from the future to the past: Jaguar's iconic E-Type has been voted Britain's best car of all time at the opening day of the Classic & Sports Car, London Show.

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