Trevor Collett | Jun 4, 2013

The University of Wollongong has reached a breakthrough with its research on lithium-ion batteries which could make electric vehicles (EVs) more viable in the near future.

The university’s Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials (ISEM) has used a new Germanium-based material, capable of storing five times more energy than a ‘conventional’ lithium-ion battery.

Researchers at the university believe this new technology to EVs could at the very least double the distance that the car can travel on a single charge.

And the benefits don’t end there, with the new batteries bringing a significant reduction in charging times, and a relatively inexpensive manufacturing technique.

The price of Germanium is higher than materials currently used to make batteries, but Professor Zaiping Guo from ISEM is confident that prices could fall under mass production.

“The novel anode materials are very simple to synthesize and cost-effective,” Ms Guo said.

“They can be fabricated in large-scale by industry and therefore have great commercial potential.”

“We’re truly excited about this breakthrough and are looking forward to transitioning this technology to the commercial marketplace.”

As well as improvements to EVs, the new battery technology could also be used in consumer electronics - such as mobile phones and laptops - and is even capable of grid-scale energy storage.