A New York-based company is at least the second in the past year to pitch a system that refills an electric vehicle's battery in a way similar to how conventional cars are refueled at gas stations, according to GigaOm.
Eos Energy Storage says it can make a zinc battery that consists of a liquid electrolyte that sends zinc ions from the anode to the cathode. Eos President Steve Hellman said the company is working on a system in which the "used" electrolyte may be pumped out and a new electrolyte – with zinc – is pumped in, just like filling up a tank, according to GigaOm. No date has been set for the release of such a battery, but Eos's first product – a battery designed for power grid use – is about two years away.
Refillable batteries are topical because they address the hurdle of the many hours it takes to recharge an electric vehicle's battery. This is a sticking point for many potential EV buyers.
Last spring, 24M Technologies, which was started by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) pitched a similar idea in which a sludge-like material could be used to recharge an EV's lithium-ion battery in a matter of minutes. The black goo-like liquid electrolyte, which the company nicknamed "Cambridge Crude," could be sent through the battery with a fuel-pump type device. 24M said such a system could also cut battery costs in half, though didn't give any estimate on how soon they could be produced.