A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students may have come up with the perfect solution to our electric vehicle charging woes. Instead of relying on lithium or nickel, the new battery design stores its electrons in semi-solid flow cells. Charged particles are suspended in an electrolyte solution and pumped between compartments used for storing or releasing energy. The tech supposedly makes the batteries up to ten times more efficient than their traditional counterparts, and even more importantly, the new tech is cheaper to produce. Estimates say that the design could cut the size and expense of current batteries by as much as 50 percent.

That's all well and good, but the really cool part is that charging the cells is as simple as pumping the drained fluid out and pumping fresh charged fluid in. That means that getting on your way could take as little time as a standard gasoline fill-up, greatly reducing the inconvenience and range woes associated with modern EVs. An operational prototype is expected to be completed in the next 18 months or so.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 92 Comments
      rygar
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sweet! I can't wait to be able to fill my car up with Brawndo! It's got electrolytes!
        Peter S.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @rygar
        +1 for referencing the only comedy that has turned into a documentary, Idiocracy
          Synthono
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Peter S.
          Why don't people understand what satire is? Everyone who says Idiocracy has "turned into a documentary" needs to pick up a dictionary posthaste.
      TheHoff
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's pure capacitance gel!
      Todd Fleming
      • 3 Years Ago
      if its electrolytes it must just be a bottle of Gatoraid, who knew.
      Soul Shinobi
      • 3 Years Ago
      ...and then nobody funded it. It's amazing how many good ideas are ignored, let's hope this gets some attention!
      hudkina
      • 3 Years Ago
      And this boys and girls is the car of the future. No hydrogen, no natural gas, no waiting six hours to charge your battery. Every gas station will eventually be converted into an "electrolyte station". What are we going to call it? The Lectro Station?;)
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here's the future, folks! Instead of a quick-swap battery, you just quick-swap the fluid and the discharge goes into the 'gas' station to be recharged for the next guy who pulls up. With batteries half the size, that means you get twice the range from current size applications. A 200 mile range is perfect for electric cars, and now once we get these fill stations up around the country, range won't be an issue. Bravo, MIT.
      Alex740
      • 3 Years Ago
      Without knowing any of the details this sounds revolutionary.
      LazyLemming
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is neat. Great solution to the biggest problem of electric cars. I'm skeptical though because there have been so many claims of improved batteries that are lighter cheaper and more efficient. Some of them by big name companies or colleges too. The liquid refuel is great and unique and I love it. But we'll still need 200 miles+ per charge.
      Peter S.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I hate to sound like Apple but, to me, this changes everything. It sounds like one of the two main hurdles from taking electric cars into the prime time, this and infrastructure to support it, has almost been solved. Hopefully now that it's out in the open, nobody (ahem, US government, OPEC, BP, Exxon Mobile) can jeopardize it.
      Max
      • 3 Years Ago
      Like other commenters, the red flag for me in reading this was the whole "pumping the drained fluid out" thing. Is it reusable? Disposable? Does it decompose? Generally, this sounds pretty cool and considering it might raise efficiency AND lower cost while making electric cars easier to use, I'm game.
        kevsflanagan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Max
        I agree as long as it can be reused by recharging the fluid and or used for something else that is not harmful to the environment then I'm all for it.
        Jim R
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Max
        My guess would be the fluid is reusable. Just recharge it and you're good to go.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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