By Darren Quick
In news that could greatly extend the range of electric cars, researchers have shown that replacing the conventional graphite electrodes in lithium-ion batteries with silicon nanotubes can produce a battery that can store ten times more charge. The researchers developed a silicon anode that, aside from extending the range of electric cars, could also make gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles more efficient by allowing them to run in electric mode for longer periods.
The researchers say that, if the new silicon anode can be matched to a cathode with similar storage capacity, the resulting battery should be able to power a car for three or four hours without recharging. This is a marked improvement of six to eight times on today’s technology, which sees the battery in a current, typical hybrid car lasting only 30 minutes.