A team of Taiwan scientists has developed a new hybrid electric vehicle that gets its power from zinc-air batteries. Unlike a traditional EV that is powered by lithium batteries, the new technology by the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology runs cars more cleanly and power efficiently. It is also less harmful for the nature and less susceptible to overheating and explosions.
A chemical reaction of zinc and oxygen produces zinc oxide that can be turned to electricity to power the new hybrid vehicle. The Taiwan university has struck a deal with a Dutch carmaker to produce commercial versions of the EVs that run on the zinc-air batteries. Hopefully, in coming years, we can find the rollout of vehicles that feature this energy efficient and powerful battery technology. The Dutch automaker is to release the cars with a price of 10,000 Euros (approx. $13,100) in next couple of years.
According to the Pingtung University researchers, the current hybrid and electric vehicles that are powered by gas, are insufficient to meet with the mounting fuel prices. The lithium batteries provide less energy efficiency and stability when compared to the new zinc-based batteries, they claim. The car they have developed goes at a maximum speed of up to 80 km/h and a single charge will give it a huge 200 kms range.
Zinc-air batteries have been in use in tiny electronic devices for a while, said Lin Chiu-feng, director of the university’s engineering department. It is for the first time the inventive battery technology is used in cars and other vehicles. The battery can provide five to six times better energy density than a lead-acid battery. As well, it is secure against overheating, metal pollution, explosions and others.