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IBM's 500-Mile EV Lithium Air Technology (Video)

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On: Wed, May 2, 2012 at 10:00AM | By: Chris Weiss

IBM's 500-Mile EV Lithium Air Technology (Video)

Imagine a world where an electric vehicle could travel just as far as a gas vehicle. There'd be no more range anxiety, no more excuses for right wing talk show hosts to knock the electric vehicle industry, and no more reason to ever pay another dime for a tank of gas, assuming that such an EV was affordable. The player that produces battery technology capable of giving the EV that type of range is going to be quite wealthy and popular. Could it be IBM? The once-household name in technology shows its lithium-air technology.

IBM began its research in 2009 and recently demonstrated the charge and recharge chemistry of its lithium-air technology in the lab. The technology replaces the heavy metal oxides used in current generation batteries with oxygen pulled from the air. This makes the batteries much lighter and delivers a high energy density, according to the company. IBM believes that the technology could produce a family sized car capable of traveling 500 miles per charge - that's an electric vehicle that drives way past range anxiety.

The oxygen from the atmosphere reacts with the lithium ions in the battery to create electric energy. When charging, the process is reversed and the oxygen released back into the atmosphere.

IBM believes that cars featuring lithium-air batteries could hit the roads by 2030, though it sounds like its research is still in the early stages. IBM itself calls it a "high risk endeavor."

Lithium air technology certainly sounds like a promising battery technology of the future - so promising, we could see IBM being a bigger name than it was back in the 80s should it be successful in developing it.

Check out a brief graphical explanation in the video below.


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