Museum of Science and Industry

If you’re like me, you often step outside and yell, “Hey everybody, it’s 2012... Where are all the electric cars?” Batteries, it turns out, are a tough obstacle on the road to electric car efficiency. One big issue is that usually the more juice a battery can crank out, the heavier it must get. But IBM is seeking to address that problem with lightweight batteries capable of propelling a car 500 miles on a single charge.

The Battery 500 Project has demonstrated a "lithium-air" battery that generates electricity as it absorbs oxygen flowing into it. Since we live on a relatively oxygen-rich world, the battery does not need to be preloaded with this reactant – it can simply grab it on the go. Then, during recharging, it releases that oxygen into the air. This is so cool - it's almost as though the battery is breathing! Maybe in the future, state troopers will catch speeders by listening for the cars that are panting.

Image: IBM

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