Ford Motor Company has been granted a patent on a metal-oxygen battery system for use in electrified vehicles, reports Motor1. The patent, which was requested last October and granted in February, includes the battery pack and an external tank for housing oxygen.
Metal-oxygen batteries are of interest because they’ve demonstrated a capability for very high energy density relative to lithium-ion batteries – at least, in theory. Ford says that the “relatively high electrochemical capacities” of metal-oxide battery technology have “recently been demonstrated experimentally in a small number of laboratories,” although nothing befitting an automotive application has been developed, according to Motor1. If the technology is ever made ready for prime time, metal-oxygen batteries could be a solution for when a small volume and low mass are required.
That said, it seems unlikely that a metal-oxygen battery will ever find its way into a production Ford automobile. But fear not; there’s a whole slew of contenders vying to replace lithium-ion tech, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. If it isn’t metal-oxygen that wins out in the end, something more practical, durable, and/or efficient will.