An electric car has been tested that managed a huge 1,100 mile range on a single charge. A massive jump from current electric cars like the Tesla Model S which tops out at around 300 miles.
The secret to this super range is a type of battery technology called aluminium-air. This uses oxygen naturally occurring in the air to fill its cathode. This makes it far lighter than liquid filled lithium-ion batteries to give car a far greater range.
Phinergy, who created the battery, is an Israeli company who worked with aluminium specialist Alcoa Canada to create the batteries. To keep costs low the batteries were made in Canada where hydro-electricity is rife, making manufacturing more affordable.
Aluminium-air batteries drain turning the metal into aluminium hydroxide which can then be recycled to make new batteries. That will mean swapping out batteries every few months. But since it's so much lighter and cheaper than current efforts it should offer huge mileage and be affordable.
Tesla has already demoed its battery swap-out service which would automatically do it in just 90-seconds. All the drivers would need to do would be to add tap water every month or two to help feed the reaction.
The test car used also had lithium-ion batteries working in a sort of hybrid battery. The proposed end result would be a car that uses lithium-ion for short range drives and has the aluminium-air battery kick in for long hauls. This would preserve the life of both batteries while keeping weight down and maximising range.
It may still be a while before we see these batteries in cars but at the rate Tesla is moving anything is possible.