Big Blue BatteryIBM is one of the biggest R&D spenders in the world, if not the biggest one (depends how you count and if you count only private entities or governments). They're working on all kinds of stuff, from Jeopardy-winning AIs to software that optimizes wind farms. One of their ambitious projects is the development of a lithium-air battery for electric cars that would be light enough and cheap enough to allow an average EV to get 500 miles on a charge. This would truly be a game-changer, though IBM doesn't expect it to happen tomorrow (their timeline shows 2020-2030 as more realistic commercialization dates).
It's not a brand new initiative - they've been working on it for a few years - but they've recently released the video above that shows how the inside of a lithium-air battery operates. It's pretty cool.
It's not the first time that we write about these "air" batteries. If you want more info on other types that are under developments, including one that would be grid-scale, check these out:
- Zinc-Air Battery With 30-Year Life Could Revolutionize Grid Energy Storage, Boost Wind & Solar Adoption
- Lithium-Air Battery Could Have Up to 10x Storage Capacity of Current Lithium-Ion Tech
- Very Promising! Zinc-Air Battery Could Hold 300% More Energy Than Lithium-Ion
- Potentially Game-Changing Zinc-Air Battery Tech Gets ARPA-E Financing
Lithium-ion should keep getting incrementally better for a while longer, but it truly seems like the next big step forward for batteries will be to use oxygen atoms from the atmosphere rather than to try to carry everything they need inside the battery itself.