A battery that could power electric cars for less

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The benefits of electric vehicles are well documented. The elimination of fuel means a significant annual reduction in running costs, along with reduced maintenance as electric cars do not incur the issues that often arise with petrol powered engines. Additionally, the brakes featured in electric cars are more durable, which means they do not have to be replaced as often. Along with being cheaper to own, electric cars are also cheaper to buy and naturally have less of a harmful environmental impact than traditional vehicles.

However, the development of electric cars powered by lithium-ion batteries has faced problems due to their weight and cost. The issue lies with the length of range the vehicles have between charges. For example, the Nissan Leaf currently has a driving capability of approximately 150 miles between charges, and this concern over range capacity has slightly affected the sales of electric cars.

Industry scientists have been working hard to produce a cost-efficient alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The University of Cambridge recently announced the creation of a lithium oxygen battery prototype that tackles the issues hindering development, including size, price and power. The oxygen battery could potentially replace lithium-ion batteries in electric cars and enable much longer ranges between charges.

The researchers speculate that the new batteries may be a fifth of the cost and weight of the current batteries, which would successfully reduce the main issues facing development. The energy density in lithium oxygen batteries could be 10 times that of lithium ion batteries, which would reflect an approach towards the power of petrol and allow cars to travel hundreds more miles without having to recharge. The prototype uses lithium hydroxide in its construction along with an electrode mode of graphene. The result is an efficient and stable battery that can be recharged over 2,000 times and is currently achieving an efficiency rate of 93%.

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