Phinergy Ltd., founded by CEO Aviv Tzidon, has developed an electric car with a range of 1,750 kilometers (1,100 miles). The company carried out a test drive in Canada last week. Tesla Motors Inc.'s (Nasdaq: TSLA) Model S electric car can go for 500 kilometers (300 miles) between recharging.
Almost all currently marketed electric cars have a maximum range of 200 kilometers, the main factor holding back sales. Phinergy's prototype uses a hybrid lithium-ion and aluminum-air battery system. It uses lithium-ion battery for short trips and the aluminium-air battery for long hauls.
The aluminum-air technology uses oxygen naturally occurring in the air to fill its cathode. Aluminum-air batteries discharge turns the metal into aluminum hydroxide, which can then be recycled to make new batteries. This makes it far lighter than liquid filled lithium-ion batteries to give car a far greater range. The concept is not new, but technical problems, such as frequent breakdowns, have hitherto been insurmountable.
Phinergy is collaborating with Alcoa Canada to create the batteries. The batteries were made in Canada, which has extensive hydro-electric power, to keep costs low and make manufacturing more affordable.
Although it is possible to create batteries with a 500-kilometer range without recharging or other materials, it is very expensive. Affordable batteries have a range of around 180 kilometers - and that is in laboratory conditions, without air conditioning, traffic congestion, and other real life conditions. Recharging takes more time than drivers are usually willing to spend, compared with the 5-7 minutes to fill a tank with gasoline or diesel every 400 kilometers. All attempts to create more environmentally friendly alternatives have fallen in the face of these habits. For example, Better Place offered a fast battery replacement solution before the company crashed.
Phinergy's technology originated at Bar Ilan University. The catalyst process can operate flawlessly, at least in the company's test runs. The practical solution is an ordinary battery that is recharged overnight at home, while the aluminum-air battery operates on long trips. Another advantage is that aluminum is easily recyclable, an important factor since the battery has to be replaced every few months.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 17, 2014
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014