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A recent BMW forecast predicted that electric vehicles will, within five years, offer double the range from a single charge they do today. If this statement was designed to get publicity for the company's soon-to-debut i3 EV, it certainly generated discussion, but not much in the way of agreement.

Toyota has never been a big fan of lithium ion batteries, and has a plan in place to replace them with solid-state batteries that are three-to-four times more powerful. Toyota will commercialize solid-state batteries around 2020 and lithium air batteries – which offer a fivefold increase for the same weight – could follow several years later, said Shigeki Suzuki, managing officer for material engineering. Suzuki didn't offer details on a rollout plan or vehicle volumes.

Work is continuing on IBM's wish-we-had-it-now lithium-air battery technology. Today, IBM is announcing that two new partners – Asahi Kasei and Central Glass – are joining the Battery 500 Project team. The idea, as the number suggests, is to develop a battery for passenger cars that can provide enough energy to go 500 miles. The secret? Energy pulled from thin air.

We know that General Motors has the largest battery lab in the world, one that's capable of carrying out all kinds of scientific tests, but that's a little boring, if you ask us. If you want to test a battery's durability, do you really need fancy lab equipment and sophisticated computers? Or can you just use a few household items, a swimming pool, bullets and a lot of time? Maybe it's time to ditch the lab coats, fire up the oven and learn how battery testing is really done.

Judging by the table shown above, lithium-air (Li/O2) batteries appear to be quite remarkable, on paper at least. But what can we really expect from this new advanced battery technology? Well Argonne National Laboratory has started researching and testing lithium-air batteries in earnest and presents a strong case that the future of electric vehicles may very well ride on this technology. If initial research turns out to be accurate, lithium-air batteries could hold up to ten times more energy t

The United States Department of Energy has granted IBM 24 million hours of computing time on the supercomputers at the Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. The reason? Research on lithium air batteries. Lithium air batteries hold a lot of potential for dramatically increasing energy density for electric vehicles, potentially up to 5,000 watt-hours per kilogram.

Last week, a consortium of some of the nation's leading scientists and engineers reportedly met in California to develop a new battery pack for electric cars. Sponsored by IBM and its Big Green Innovations program, the so-called Battery 500 team hopes to create a power pack capable of propelling a vehicle for up to 500 miles.

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