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Lithium Air: The Quest To Build The Electric Vehicle Battery That Will Make Gas Guzzlers Irrelevant

The same kind of battery that’s powering your laptop is what powers electric cars. That doesn’t make much sense, so scientists are hard at work on next-gen batteries that will make fears of running out of charge a thing of the past.

Despite the rising cost of gasoline, electric vehicles still remain outside the mainstream. There are a number of reasons for this–people can’t afford to buy a new car every year, there are still far more gasoline-powered options, etcetera–but chief among them is range anxiety, or the fear that the EV battery will peter out while driving. It’s not an unreasonable fear; electric cars today have an average range of 100 to 200 miles, which isn’t enough for long trips. And an EV highway charging infrastructure is still years away from really taking off.

These are all problems with the lithium ion batteries found in today’s vehicles. Lithium air batteries, which have an energy density 1,000 times that of lithium ion batteries, are a different story. They can provide enough juice for a car to go 500 miles at a time before a battery recharge is necessary. With that kind of range, there’s no need for an extensive charging infrastructure. Most people can just wait until they get to their final destination to charge up. When that happens, EVs will truly be competitive with gasoline-powered cars.
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