This New Battery Could Make The Toyota Prius The Ultimate Plug-In Hybrid
If you are a Toyota Prius driver chances are you have thought about many different ways to get the most out of every drop of fuel. What if the answer to the Prius is not fuel economy but the battery capacity and how much energy can be stored onboard.
If you are also a Prius owner that has had traction battery trouble then you will really appreciate this guy who has pretty much solved your problem. Trevor Jackson of England has successfully made a battery that is cheaper, more energy-dense, and eco-friendly.
Here is what the new battery is and how it could change the way we drive our Prius cars, forever.
What Our Prius Uses Today For Batteries
Two current battery technologies that are in Prius are nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion. Both types of technology have served us well all these years. Both have great strengths but also weaknesses that make them a great bridge to the next best thing.
Nickel-metal hydride has been a Prius staple since 1997. It is based on nickel-cadmium batteries that were robust but fell, victim to dreaded memory wear. Nickel-metal hydride was supposed to be the solution to that problem and initially, it was. It worked great until years down the road when it too began suffering the same fate. Even though there are solutions to repair these type of batteries today, they still are not nearly as energy-dense or reliable as lithium-ion, also they are much heavier. This makes them a less than desirable technology.
Lithium-ion has been very promising, but not without limitations as well. This technology brought us a lighter and more power-packed energy source that has brought the electric car back into reality. Prius began using this back in 2012 with the first Prius plugin. Tesla had been using lithium-ion since its inception in 2008, but Toyota firmly believed that the battery technology needed more research before it could really be fully utilized.
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Both batteries have given us so much data over the years and been great. but they have had some serious limitations as well. The industry has been struggling to find a new solution to this problem and until now there has not been a solid answer. Enter Trevor Jackson.
Aluminum-Air Fuel Cell Battery Could Power A New And Old Prius
Trevor and his company had made this battery over 10 years ago. Companies that are lithium-ion supporters have fought against this as it would make their technology obsolete.
This battery is also safe for the environment which Jackson proved by drinking some of the formulae. Not only that but recycled beverage cans can be used as well to make this battery. Eco-friendly is what the Toyota Prius has always been about. Trevor is hoping that kits can be used to retrofit cars like the Prius and give them a range that would make them even more efficient. Kits costing around $4000 could easily turn a hybrid into a plugin and give it a range that would run it right along with a Tesla.
Telsa could even benefit as well. According to the team, the same size of the battery a Tesla Model S has currently with this new technology could give it a range of 1500 miles. This is a huge win for the electric car world, and could even change the way we use 12v systems too.
I hope this pulls through for us Prius owners. It would be so awesome to drop an aluminum-air battery in my 07 and watch the fuel mileage stack up. I cannot wait to see where this technology will take us here in the next few years.
Thanks for reading, be sure to check out my other story, These 3 recalls may be affecting your Toyota Prius or Lexus CT200h
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Adjunct Instructor of automotive technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.