New lithium-air (Li-O2) battery technology breakthrough could end EV range anxiety

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Electric vehicles have come a long way in recent years. At the forefront of the development has been the quest for lighter and more powerful batteries to help put an end to what’s commonly known as range anxiety.

The boffins at Cambridge University are one of the driving forces behind the latest development of battery technology. Their breakthrough with lithium-air batteries (also known as Li-O2) could see an EV travel London to Edinburgh on a single charge.

This new technology could pave the way for batteries that are a fifth of the cost and weight of current electric car batteries. This could see the future crop of EVs matching the range of petrol and diesel cars.

Range anxiety: worry on the part of a person driving an electric car that the battery will run out of power before the destination or a suitable charging point is reached.

Although real-world usage remains “at least a decade away”, Cambridge scientists claim have overcome a number of obstacles to develop a working laboratory prototype of the revolutionary lithium-air battery.

The main difference between traditional lithium-ion which power the majority of EVs and lithium-air batteries is that Li-O2 batteries replace the traditional cathode with air. This helps make the rechargeable metal-air battery lighter and potentially more powerful than its lithium-ion counterpart.

Professor Clare Grey, at Cambridge University’s Department of Chemistry, said: “While there are still plenty of fundamental studies that remain to be done, to iron out some of the mechanistic details, the current results are extremely exciting. We are still very much at the development stage, but we’ve shown that there are solutions to some of the tough problems associated with this technology.”

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