Some of the biggest obstacles automakers must overcome in the their effort to bring electric vehicles to the mass market lie in the batteries. Namely, consumer "range anxiety" over the distance an EV can travel on a single charge and the substantial recharge times, not to mention the high price of the batteries themselves. A group of students at MIT
, however, may have just the solution EV manufacturers and their customers are looking for.
Instead of using lithium or nickel, this particular battery stores its electrons in semi-solid flow cells. This means that charged particles are put in a liquid electrolyte solution (no word yet on if we'll be able to run our plug-in on pure Gatorade) and then pumped between different compartments used for storing and releasing energy. Doing so supposedly increases the batteries' efficiency ten times and makes them much cheaper to produce – almost 50% cheaper, in fact.
Additionally, recharging these batteries is essentially the same process as refueling an ICE. All the driver has to do is pump out the drained fluid, pump in freshly charged fluid and drive off. No more overnight charging or scrambling to find power outlets.
We'll be on the lookout for this new technology in action. An operational prototype is said to be in the works and is expected to be complete in the next 18 months. Stay tuned...