A small team of researchers at the University of Glasgow believe to have found the perfect solution for the perfect electric car of the future: a battery that runs on rust and can be recharged with water, at the pump.
With plans for some European countries, for instance, to make the switch to electric cars as soon as possible, the challenge is to find a way to make them sustainable in the long run. This includes a new infrastructure for recharging batteries and better ranges for a single charge.
The Glasgow researchers are suggesting a different kind of battery: their prototype uses metal oxide, which they call “exotic rust,” which can be charged with electricity when added to water. When the energy runs out, the driver cleans the rust with a withdrawal nozzle and fills the battery up with water again.
It would be the same process as today with gasoline-powered cars, the BBC reports. The advantage would be that drivers would no longer have to wait for hours for the battery to recharge, as is the case with conventional electric cars. They would simply fill up and drive off.
“This will overcome a big kind of cultural inertia - you can get instant refuel in the same way, with no change to your behavior now,” Prof. Lee Cronin, leader of the research team, told the source. “Because it's a liquid it would just work as normal using the same infrastructure.”
According to the professor, making the concept battery was relatively easy, but scaling it for a vehicle and then mass-producing it could prove to be the real challenge. Once that out of the way, though, he believes the battery will have a wider range because it has a higher capacity to carry energy.
“If you are going to shift to electric cars, recharge time seems to be an almost unstoppable barrier because you are going to have to plan - even with a super-charger - a half-hour to 45-minute wait,” Prof. Cronin explains.
“And then there's the anxiety of whether you have got enough charging stations. I can see a situation where you would have petrol and liquid battery co-existing for a while.”