When it comes to the relatively new domain of electric mobility and the technologies that surround it, question marks are common, uncertainty the only certainty. And one of the big unknowns concerns the type of battery that will be used in electric cars of the future. Enter Honda and its possible solution to longstanding problems to do with range, cost, safety and environmental impact.
A team of scientists at Honda Research, working in collaboration with the California Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, have completed development of a new type of battery using room-temperature fluoride-ion technology. Up until now, these types of batteries could only be used when at a temperature of 300 F (or 149 Celsius) or above.
What are the advantages of using a fluoride-ion as opposed to a lithium-ion battery, you ask? There are two main benefits, according to Dr. Christopher Brooks, the head of Honda Research.
"Fluoride-ion batteries offer a promising new battery chemistry with up to ten times more energy density than currently available Lithium batteries. Unlike Li-ion batteries, FIBs do not pose a safety risk due to overheating, and obtaining the source materials for FIBs creates considerably less environmental impact than the extraction process for lithium and cobalt."
- Dr. Christopher Brooks, Honda Research
The potential safety and environmental benefits make the technology worth exploring.
Much works needs to be done before the new battery can be put to widespread use, of course, but Honda says that fluoride-ion batteries could well be the future of electric-car battery systems, not to mention any other products that require batteries.