Toyota Scientist Discovers the Key to Viable Magnesium Battery Technology

May 6th, 2016 by


You hate to see your cell phone’s battery in the red. It means you have to hope you don’t get any important calls before you reach home, or they might be dropped. Fortunately, battery life is improving every year, not just for cell phones and other devices, but for electric cars.

The race is on between automakers to come out with a long-range battery that can match the driving range of a gasoline vehicle — only then will Amarillo drivers truly embrace electric vehicles.

Magnesium could hold the key.

The 2016 Toyota Prius‘s battery uses lithium ions to store electricity, but lithium — while an improvement over nickel-metal-hydride — has its limitations.

“When magnesium batteries become a reality, they’ll be much smaller than the current lithium ion, they’ll be much cheaper, and they’ll be much safer,” says Rana Mohtadi, Toyota Principal Scientist. They will also hold much more energy, for longer driver ranges.

Mohtadi made a major breakthrough in magnesium batteries when she realized the materials she was developing to store hydrogen just happened to have the exact set of properties her fellow researchers needed to perfect the magnesium-ion battery.

“We were able to take a material that was only used in hydrogen storage and we made it practical and very competitive for magnesium battery chemistry,” she said. “It was exciting.”

The long-lasting magnesium-ion battery may take 20 years to develop for commercial use. Until then, keep your battery in top condition with service and maintenance at Street Toyota.

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