As more auto makers begin importing diesel variations of models already stateside, some buyers have begun questioning the importance of electric vehicles. But don’t count IBM among those who disregard electric vehicles. In fact, the tech giant is in the process of developing a lithium-air battery capable of achieving 500 miles on a single charge.
Electric vehicles on the road today largely use lithium-ion batteries. The problem with this battery is that it can’t go very far on a single recharge, about 75 miles in real-world driving, despite some automakers claims of better range. IBM is experimenting with a lithium-air battery, which theoretically can go much further on a single charge and weighs in less than its ion sibling.
While the lithium-air battery sounds ready to take over for the older lithium-ion batteries, it isn’t flawless. While lithium-air batteries carry more energy than the lithium-ion batteries, the ion version is much more stable, and thus more reliable.
IBM is sorting through possible solutions with the help of a Blue Gene supercomputer. Variations on this computer can solve 100 trillion equations per second—that’s about 10,000 times faster than the computer you’re reading this on. With the help of a Blue Gene supercomputer IBM says that solving the instability issues of the lithium-air battery “looks very promising.” If everything goes according to plan IBM plans to have a working prototype ready to go by 2013. The final hurdle will come in 2020 when commercial batteries will be ready for the public.
Source: Digital Trends