Do you know what came second in Norway’s 2014 “Words of the Year” contest? It was “Rekkeviddeangst”, or range anxiety. That’s maybe surprising, given that Norway is the world’s leading Electric Vehicle market.
But if you’re anything like the average European driver, you’ll also have grappled with “rekkeviddeangst” when debating whether to “go green”. What you might not realise is that we’re close to ending that debate, through the 1,600 km driving range of aluminium-air batteries.
Drivers want range
On average, European drivers say they would require a range of 437km to consider purchasing an electric car as their next vehicle. While this might not match up with our actual driving habits (where 99% of all car trips are under 70 miles), it’s a lot further than most pure electric cars currently go.
As example, the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe have official ranges of 117km and 210 km – only enough to get you from Brussels to the German border.
Support the battery, don’t replace it
To extend that driving range, conventional thinking is to commercialise the next generation of higher-energy battery technologies, with huge amounts of global R&D working in that direction.
Aluminium-air batteries take a different approach, working in tandem with the existing lithium-ion battery, rather than replacing it.
This combination can extend the range of an electric car by approximately 1,600 km. That’s enough for a zero-emission journey to Berlin and back, without needing to stop for a single charge.
It could be sooner than you think
Together with Israeli start-up Phinergy, light weight metals producer Alcoa has been collaborating to commercialise the aluminium-air battery.
So far, the technology has been tested in a specially modified Citroen C1 car. The development partners even took it for a spin across the Circuit Giller-Villneuve in Montreal, Canada.
Looking ahead, the future is bright, with Renault-Nissan already announcing a possible partnership to create an electric car using aluminium-air batteries by 2017.
And it’s not only cars where such technology could be used. A zero-emissions electric demo boat was released last year in Switzerland, with the aluminium-air battery providing about 25 hours of additional navigation profile (five times more than currently).
So, next time you’re worrying about how you’d make it to Berlin in an emergency, be reassured that a solution is potentially just around the corner, and get over “rekkeviddeangst” for good.
Information provided by Alcoa