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Dual-Battery Electric Vehicle Demonstrates 1,800-Mile Range

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Electric Vehicle Range Improved by Aluminum-Air Battery
Electric Vehicle Range Improved by Aluminum-Air Battery

For many drivers of conventional vehicles, the thought of limited range and long charging times makes them shy away from electric vehicles.

Of course, if you really take the time to consider how many miles are driven each day, then one can easily see how an electric vehicle can fit into the average driver’s life. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, for example, some 45 million American households could make the switch to electric vehicles without making any changes in their current driving habits. That’s 42% of the United States, yet just one percent of Americans own electric vehicles.

Still, many people can’t make the mental leap necessary to overcome range anxiety, but what if there was an electric vehicle that nearly eliminated it? The Tesla Model S 85 kWh has the best range of any electric vehicle, but still is less than most conventional vehicles. Last year, Tesla Motors applied for a patent that would increase its effective range far beyond even conventional vehicles. The range-extender, however, isn’t like the gasoline-powered generator, the range extender in a Chevy Volt or BMW i3, but a second battery. In addition to the the lithium-ion battery pack, the patent includes a second, metal-air battery pack.

There’s one caveat, however. The lithium-ion battery pack can be cycled a few hundred times before it’s performance begins to degrade, which means it has a good balance of range and lifespan. Metal-air batteries, however, have a very limited lifespan, that is, they can discharge one time, and one time only. Tesla hasn’t put one into production yet, but there is a demonstrator vehicle being tested in Montreal, Canada. Phinergy and Alcoa are testing an electric vehicle with both lithium-ion and aluminum-air battery packs.

The lithium-ion battery in this particular electric vehicle testbed is still the primary battery, with the aluminum-air battery functioning as a range extender in case of a long trip. Owners would need to keep the aluminum-air battery topped off with tap water to enable chemical reactions inside. Alcoa estimates that the aluminum-air battery pack would need to be changes once a year, or less. The only question is, “How much does this convenience cost?”

Image © Alcoa

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. LoneWolffe beepee Irony is that Nikola Tesla himself,
    inventor that he was, would recognize the new technology that allows
    “Electric Engine/Motors” which, in turn also revolutionizes electric
    generators and transformer technology (to me, motors are generators – when a
    hybrid electric motor decelerates, reversing the polarity should briefly
    “charge” during braking).
    You are correct, the Tesla auto uses
    a beautiful DC to 240v AC inverter/motor tandem.  It’s a thing of beauty,
    but simply installing a 240v TDI Diesel Generator through an Automatic Transfer
    Switch (ATS) would do the trick, keeping everything AC (and if you must, keep
    your lithium ion battery as it will last much longer as it gets it’s own
    trickle charge).
    But large scale continuous duty DC
    motors are available – It’s not as simple as using a
    conventional  high torque 12v
    DC “starter” motor, but
    “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile”.  Though Tesla died
    before 1947, his patented AC induction motor/generator and transformer
    technology, by it’s example has given way to all of the new Electric
    Engine/Motor technology.

    Remember the EV1 was abandoned solely
    based upon the fact that it’s benefit was negated by conventional AC
    charging stations being dependant on an “existing power grid”, and
    thereby technically not really escaping petroleum production.

  2. LoneWolffebeepee Irony is that Nikola Tesla himself, inventor that he was, would recognize the new technology that allows “Electric Engine/Motors” which, in turn also revolutionizes electric generators and transformer technology (to me, motors are generators – when a hybrid electric motor decelerates, reversing the polarity should briefly “charge” during braking).

    You are correct, the Tesla auto uses a beautiful DC to 240v AC inverter/motor tandem.  It’s a thing of beauty, but simply installing a 240v TDI Diesel Generator through an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) would do the trick, keeping everything AC (and if you must, keep your lithium ion battery as it will last much longer as it gets it’s own trickle charge).

    But large scale continuous duty DC motors are available – It’s not as simple as using a conventional  high torque 12v DC “starter” motor, but “this is not your father’s Oldsmobile”.  Though Tesla died before 1947, his patented AC induction motor/generator and transformer technology, by it’s example has given way to all of the new Electric Engine/Motor technology.

    Remember the EV1 was abandoned solely based upon the fact that it’s benefit was negated by conventional AC charging stations being dependant on an “existing power grid”, and thereby technically not really escaping petroleum production.  So some of this innovative technology is well known, but maybe suppressed.

  3. beepee LoneWolffe as far as i can tell, the reason tesla went with AC motors, instead of DC, is because DC motors, for their size, cannot deliver as much low-end torque. i could be wrong on this. on the other hand, the battery pack itself is already DC, and i don’t think it would take much to bypass the onboard inverter to charge DC directly. would still require a DC-DC converter to up the voltage, however.

  4. LoneWolffe beepee Solar is a welcome addition.  Tesla uses a AC 240v “Engine/Motor”.   An OTS, DC voltage (continuous duty) Engine/Motor would more aptly fit the Solar scenario.  Low voltage DC and Milliamps might be stretch right now, but still possible.

  5. beepee Supposedly, aluminum oxide can be recycled, so I guess there’s that. I think I’d still go with your idea. Personally, I’d love to take the Volvo V60 PHEV, charge it on solar and fill it with biodiesel, the perfect clean match!

  6. Not to beat a (already) dead horse, but . . . . . this is ultimately, disposal of a second battery?  Not to mention, to begin with, both batteries being tied to the AC grind.  The on-board “back-up” GASOLINE generator, as in the Volt/ELR is a superior suggestion.  A suggestion only because the GASOLINE is the convention the World needs to avoid/reduce now, and eventually eliminate (practically).

    The concept of phasing-in an “on-board” Veggie Fueled, TDI Diesel Generator coupled to existing electric Engine/Motors, sits before the World, presented as an alternative that DOES NOT require further and/or the traditional R&D (it’s OTS).

    Further, an entirely new industry centered around Veggie Fuel production/distribution, that if responsibly phased-in, could drastically reduce petroleum consumption, and lithium ion battery production use and disposal, will literally save the Planet from it’s inhabitants.

    DO THIS:  Stop by a highway Rest Stop; go up to an “idling 18 wheeler”; ask the driver – “how much fuel is required to run the engine at idle all night?”.

    The concept is so simple.  Remember “pre-ignition”?  That was when you’d turn-off your car, and it would still “run-on”, but with a knock – that’s commonly referred to as “dieseling” or running on vapors.  That’s the principle of the diesel engine and why a relatively small diesel “generator” running at idle will “burn” literally nothing (at least by comparison) while it generates enough electricity to run the transportation industries second greatest invention, the Electric Engine/Motor.

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