Electric car battery wants to support a 250 mile range

Posted by Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling

A new development in extending the range of electric cars on a single charge of a battery could soon mean range anxiety is more of a thing of the past. This interesting research breakthrough comes from Australia’s University of Wollongong (UOW).

Researchers at UOW’s Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials (ISEM), according to the university, have been working on improving lithium-ion batteries for not just electric cars, but also portable devices like mobile phones to extend their talk time. Led by nano-engineer Professor Zaiping Guo, they are said to have developed “a new Germanium (Ge)-based material with 5 times more energy storage and the potential to go at least 2 times farther on a charge than current electric vehicles.”

2013 Nissan Leaf

Image courtesy of Nissan

Guo, talking with the Illwarra Mercury, said that, specific to EVs, most typically have a range of 160 km, or about 100 miles. With the new battery development, they believe by “applying our nano-material engineering technology to lithium batteries, we have been able to develop a battery that can achieve a 400-kilometre (248 miles) driving range.”

As an added bonus, what’s described as independent tests show “significant reduction in charging times for the GE-based batteries” which, in the case of electric cars, reportedly could be “in about two minutes rather than a couple of hours.”

Noting that the “novel anode materials are very simple to synthesize and cost-effective,” it is believed by Guo the overall manufacturing technique is inexpensive. The flip side? The Ge material price, especially compared to other candidates, is significantly high at the moment. It is hoped though mass production could bring the price down.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling