BYD F3DM - Click above for an image gallery
Wang Chuan-Fu, CEO at Chinese automaker BYD, has made headlines all around the internet over the last few days for doing something that seems absolutely insane: drinking battery fluid. Most people are familiar with all kinds of batteries, from the disposable alkaline cells that frequently power toys and remote controls to the nickel-based rechargeable cells that we put in lots of things like digital cameras and radio control cars. In the automotive realm, we most often think of the big, heavy lead-acid batteries under the hood of nearly every car or truck in the world.
For the most part, one thing that's always remained constant when it comes to batteries is that they are highly toxic. We may soon need to retrain ourselves on that point. Zero Motorcycles uses high-tech lithium ion batteries that are fully non-toxic, and company founder Neal Saiki has said that they are even safe to eat. Wang Chuan-Fu went a step further and demonstrated that its electrolyte was safe to drink. We're not suggesting anyone make a habit out of ingesting their vehicle's batteries, but battery safety is an important point and the ramifications of creating tons and tons of batteries for automotive use isn't yet fully understood.
At this point, it definitely seems as if electric vehicles are a much better option than petroleum-powered vehicles, though, and battery technology is still very much in its infancy. The search for new materials and processes is sure to continue, and environmental concerns will stay at the forefront in their development, and that's definitely a good thing.