IBM wants a 500 mile EV battery

The automotive industry isn’t working alone in its perpetual quest to transform EVs and hybrids into mainstream vehicle options.

Indeed, IBM recently added a slew of new partners to its Battery 500 Project team, including Asahi Kasei and Central Glass.

The goal of the Battery 500 Project is to make significant breakthroughs in the the lucrative space that will help electric vehicles and hybrids achieve greater driving ranges. With the addition of the two new members, IBM’s project will expand in scope, as the team explores several different scenarios in an effort to increase the chances of success.

Currently, typical electric vehicles are small and compact, with an approximate 100-mile driving range per charge.  However, IBM and its research partners hope to ultimately create a battery using lithium-air technology capable of powering an average family size electric car for about 500 miles per charge.

For a car running on today’s lithium-ion batteries to match the range provided by a tank of gasoline, car manufacturers would need a very large battery which would weigh down the car and take up too much space. 

Fortunately, lithium-air batteries have higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries, due to their lighter cathodes and the fact that their primary “fuel” is the oxygen readily available in the atmosphere. To popularize electric cars, an energy density ten times greater than that of conventional lithium-ion batteries is needed, and IBM’s new partners are expected to help drive lithium-air technology towards that goal.