New invention ‘will put electric cars on road to success’

 In News

An engineer’s new invention will revolutionise low carbon transport claims a green energy expert.

Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd, was commenting on Trevor Jackson’s device enabling electric cars to travel 1,500 miles before the aluminium-air cell battery has to be recharged.

“But the even better news is that it’s simpler and cheaper to make and can be recycled,” he added. “And it is so light but yet powerful enough for buses, lorries and even small aircraft.”

He said previously scientists had discovered that by dipping aluminium into a chemical solution known as an electrolyte they could trigger a reaction between the metal and air to produce electricity. But it couldn’t be used in commercial batteries as the electrolyte was poisonous and caustic, plus pure aluminium is expensive.

However, Trevor, a former Royal Navy officer, has developed a new way to produce an electrolyte that is neither poisonous nor caustic and using his secret formula he can work with much a lower-purity metal – including recycled drinks cans – instead of aluminium to produce his fuel cell.

Now 58-year-old Trevor from near Tavistock, Devon, and his company Metalectrique Ltd has signed a multi-million-pound deal with Austin Electric, an engineering firm based in Essex, to start manufacturing the device and to put thousands of them in electric vehicles next year.

The first plan is to put the fuel cells into “tuk tuks”, the Asian three-wheeler taxis used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their recent Royal visit to Pakistan and then into electric bikes to make them cheaper to run and for a longer distance.

Early next year, they aim to produce kits to convert ordinary petrol and diesel cars into hybrids for around £3,500, by fitting them with aluminium-air cells and electric motors on the rear wheels. This will give drivers the choice whether to run the car on fossil fuel or electricity.

Trevor is then hoping to move on to electric vehicles which would be powered by aluminium-air cells costing around £5,000 each. He says this could cut the running costs to 7p a mile and, instead of a network of charging points, all that would be needed are shops where the cells when spent could be swapped and fitted in about 90 seconds.

He added that he and Austin Electric were in advanced discussions with two major supermarket chains to provide this facility.

“There are so many advantages over traditional lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicle now,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park. “As well as being cheaper, easier to make and recyclable these aluminium-air cells store more energy and can help vehicles travel four times further than their rivals without having to stop to be recharged.”

For more information about electric cars and green energy call Ron on 0845 474 6641.

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