Will Zinc Air Batteries May EVs Practical, Affordable?

Frank Sherosky writes that an innovative and cost-effective approach to energy storage is required to enable transition from gasoline to electric cars.

Published: 31-Jan-2012

No matter how proud the owners of a $400-500 per month leased Chevy Volt may boast, the cost of electrification for automobile is too high for the masses. And all this talk that it will come down when the production volume rises lacks economic common sense. It’s not the production volume that will bring the cost down for the masses this time, but technology advances and a cheaper EV fuel storage; and one with sufficient energy density that avails the same driving range as a IC engine but without a $90K price tag.

One area of the electrification of the automobile under research for many years now has been the early commercialization of the zinc-air battery for energy storage. For the record, zinc is far cheaper and far more plentiful than lithium; and due to its lower cost, avails greater energy density within the same package size for an automotive application which demands 400-500 miles of range plus fast recharging.

When I attempted a recent web search, Fluidic Energy, a for-profit corporation based in Scottsdale, Arizona showed up. It focused on the development of energy storage devices, and specifically on metal-air cell technology. Founded in 2007, as a spin-off technology company from research done at Arizona State University, it received funding from both private sources and an energy development grant from the United States Department of Energy. I emailed the firm requesting an update, but still waiting for reply. [Jan. 30, 2012 Note: see comments below for update]


Saab prototype electric car powered by Boston-Power lithium battery technology.

Lithium battery maker Boston-Power customers include HP, Saab, Asus and NASA

Courb C-ZEN electric car concept.

The C-ZEN has a range of up to 205 kilometers (125 miles) with a top speed of 110 km/hour (68 mph).

Bollore B0 electric car selected for Paris Autolib car share program

BatHium Canada's Montreal plant to expand production capacity to 15,000 electric car battery packs annually.


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