Aluminum Air vs. Lithium in EV Batteries

Brandon Moore
· 4 min read
The technology for
electric vehicles
, or EVs, is evolving. Companies worldwide are
producing EVs
with an emphasis on reducing carbon emissions and making them efficient and accessible for consumers. Electric vehicles are improving in their range and affordability, but there is always room for improvement.
One area that some manufacturers are looking at is the battery.
reports that Indian Oil Corp., India's largest oil company, is working to create aluminum-air batteries for electric vehicles. This would transition the country's EVs away from lithium-ion batteries, the standard for almost all EVs.

The pros and cons of lithium-ion batteries

Aluminum-air batteries might be the future of EVs in certain countries
If you own an electric vehicle, it’s probably powered by a
lithium-ion battery
. These batteries are known for their long lifespan and ability to be recharged. The range of electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries right now is quite high, and in many areas, it is easy to find charging stations.
However, while lithium-ion batteries are the industry standard, many agree that they are not perfect. Lithium-ion batteries can be recycled, but they also contain toxic materials. As more batteries are used, this means there is a greater chance for more hazardous waste.
Countries with a shortage of lithium are forced to import lithium-ion batteries. This is true for India, which has had to rely on foreign battery imports for their electric vehicle production.
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Aluminum-air batteries as an alternative

Indian Oil Corp. is working with Israeli clean energy company Phinergy to create aluminum-air batteries. These batteries would take advantage of natural resources commonly found in India. While India does not have an abundance of lithium, the country does have materials to produce aluminum.
This ability to produce batteries domestically rather than have them imported could be a step in making
electric vehicles
more accessible to India. Costs could be lowered, opening up EVs to more potential consumers.
India is currently the third-highest producer of carbon emissions in the world, and many hope that the country can shift away from gas in the near future.
The technology behind the aluminum-air batteries is innovative and could be revolutionary if it proves to be effective. The aluminum in the battery generates electricity when it is exposed to oxygen. If the batteries are effective, they could have ranges significantly higher than even the best lithium-ion batteries.

There’s one major issue with aluminium-air batteries

Aluminum-air batteries have the potential to change the electric vehicle market not just in India, but in the world as a whole. These batteries do have one major downside, however.
Unlike lithium-ion batteries, aluminum-air batteries cannot be recharged. Once an aluminum-ion battery is depleted of power, the battery must be replaced.
In anticipation of this, Indian Oil Corp. has a plan in place. The company already has tens of thousands of
gas stations
across the country. These stations could be altered to become battery replacement stations.
The goal is for these batteries to be easy to replace as well, with the process of battery swapping taking about as long as it takes to fill a gas tank.
The technology inside cars has changed dramatically in recent years. With potential innovations like aluminum-air batteries, the technology is on pace to continue changing. Even as vehicles change, though, insurance remains as important as ever.
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