Get Behind the Wheel of an Aluminium Air Battery-Powered Car

June 17, 2014, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

We have all seen and even been behind the wheel of so many innovative stuff pushed out of automotive majors’ workshops.

What we have stumbled upon of late gives us the excitement that none of the others have managed to bring unto us.  The new electric vehicle shown off by Phinergy and Alcoa Canada is what we are talking about.

The two companies have demonstrated an electric vehicle that is capable of driving 1800 kilometers with the deployment of a technology that combines lithium-ion storage and aluminium-air.


The Phinergy aluminium air battery of 100 kilograms in weight contains on board energy that is enough to let the vehicle travel over 3000 kilometers. This can be compared to the current best lithium ion batteries used in the Tesla S Model Sedan.

In comparison though, Tesla S can do only less than 500 kilometers on a single charge and the on board battery is said to weigh over 5 times as the former.

The battery in this case uses an air-electrode, which is capable of breathing ambient and extracting oxygen from it. This can be compared to the traditional batteries that stores and releases oxygen from chemicals that are contained in a solid or liquid cathode.

It is not necessary for the air-battery to replace or recharge its cathode. Also, the air battery is lighter as compared to other batteries. This means, it will have more power for a longer period of time.

A porous electrode that has a large surface area and is capable of capturing oxygen from the ambient air is used by the Phinergy batteries. A silver-based catalyst is present in the electrode that prevents its interaction with CO2.


Phinergy batteries are used in areas where the cost and electrical energy capacity is low, thus making it economical. These batteries tend to break down over time. The metal turns into aluminium hydroxide once they drain.

In the meanwhile, Phinergy is also experimenting other air-metal technologies as well. A zinc-air battery has been developed that is said to have advantages over aluminium. Since zinc-air is extremely durable, the batteries are said to last thousands of hours without chemical deterioration.

How about a spin?

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