Over the years, one of the biggest obstacles to widespread electric vehicle adoption has been the issue of how far the car can travel on one charge. Cars that can only travel 100 miles without plugging in might be okay for your commute to and from work, but since charging stations aren’t as easily-accessible as gas stations, longer distances pose a problem. That’s the issue Tesla Motors is trying to solve with an innovative new type of battery it has just filed to patent — a hybrid lithium-ion and metal-air battery pack that could extend the range of the company’s electric vehicles to 400 miles between charges.
The hybrid battery will rely on the more expensive, but more durable lithium-ion component for short-term travel, switching only to the metal-air battery for longer trips. The metal-air battery has a shorter lifetime when exposed to regular charging, but is less costly to produce, meaning long-range electric vehicles using the technology wouldn’t be significantly more expensive than Tesla’s regular offerings. The only potential downside is that frequent long-distance travel would wear down the battery quickly for anyone who travels often.
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