Many companies are now developing zinc air batteries and fuel cells and some actually have them in production. Most hope to make traction batteries this way sooner or later and compete with other third generation batteries such as PolyPlus Battery Company lithium air and Oxis Energy lithium sulfur.
Electric Fuel® is the brand name of Arotech Corporation's Battery and Power Systems Division. The Military Batteries Division specializes in the design and manufacture of primary and rechargeable batteries (lithium ion, lithium polymer, zinc air and other chemistries), related electronic circuits and associated chargers for military applications. The company develops batteries for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and micro-air vehicles (MAV) and has expertise in working with government agencies, the military, and large original equipment manufacturers.
Arotech develops and produces high power zinc-air batteries and is believed to be the sole supplier of this technology to the US military. The Electric Vehicle Division's mission is to bring about the deployment of zero-emission zinc-air electric buses in fleets of transit systems and school districts, providing zero-emission transportation at reasonable costs. Electric Fuel's all-electric bus, powered by our Zinc-Air fuel cell technology, has demonstrated a world record 127-mile range under rigorous urban conditions.
In August 2009 , Arotech announced that its Battery and Power Systems Division had received new orders in excess of $1.5 million for Lithium-Ion primary and rechargeable batteries, chargers and battery components. They were used in applications such as communication devices, night vision equipment and the powering of unmanned air vehicle (UAVs).
Leo Motors, a Korean startup little known in the United States, has been building a beachhead in California to import and develop its electric vehicle technology, including a so-called zinc air-fuel cell battery that could dramatically increase the range of cars powered by electricity.
The Seoul-based startup believes there are fortunes to be made as drivers in the world's largest car market shift to more energy-efficient vehicles.
Leo Motors CEO Robert Kang, who was in Silicon Valley in December 2009 in search of partnerships, told Red Herring that the company wants to open an R&D center in the United States, likely in California. Mr. Kang said in an email that besides selling components such as batteries and motors to electric-vehicle makers, his company plans to eventually sell its own EV models to U.S. fleet customers, such as police or rental car services.
The U.S. market would not be the Korean company's first foray abroad. In October, Leo Motors announced an agreement with the Philippines government to supply $15 million in EVs and components. As part of the deal, the Korean startup will supply more than 2,500 electric taxis and build an assembly plant in the Philippines.
The electric taxis, called E-Princesa, named after the Philippine city that will host the plant, will use lithium polymer battery packs, drive about 50 miles per charge, and have a top speed of 30 mph.
Source Leo Motors
Leo Motors also says it has developed several other electric models, including a sports utility vehicle called the S65 that can drive 250 miles per charge, but the company has not announced any large supply contracts around the other models.
The company's initial focus in the Unites States was selling EV components, a market that MDB Capital Group forecasts could exceed $25 billion in U.S. sales by 2012. Most of this market will come from hybrid-electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius. Leo Motors, Inc. became a manufacturer of complete electric vehicles (EVs) when it opened its own manufacturing plant near Hanam City, Korea in June 2010. Leo will produce more than 1,000 units of Hilless 1, 3, and 5 scooters per month in the new plant.
Leo scooter initially with lithium polymer battery
Source Leo Motors
Leo Motors claims to be near to breakthroughs that "could improve even the highest-end EVs, including super cars such as the Tesla Roadster." One of those breakthroughs is a zinc air-fuel cell, or ZAFC, battery, which the company originally aimed to commercialize by late 2009. Using tiny zinc balls as fuel, the ZAFC acts as an on-board power generator that charges a car's battery and extends its range. The price is less than 20% cheaper per watt than typical lithium batteries, said Mr. Kang, meaning EV makers would get more bang for their buck by investing in ZAFC rather than installing larger batteries. Battery cost is a major hurdle for electric cars, accounting for between 15 and 20 percent of the total price tag for today's hybrids.
Leo Motors is not the first to think of using ZAFC technology. It is currently used in small electronic items, like hearing aids, and in limited military applications but no one has successfully commercialized the technology for broader use.
Source Power Air
Power Air of California makes the ZAFC Powerpack, a BlackBerry-sized disposable zinc fuel cell based on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's zinc-air technology. The zinc-air technology works by mixing zinc pellets or powder with an electrolyte solution and then exposing the mixture to air to produce electricity. Inside the ZAFC Powerpack is a compartment with the mixture in gel form covered a by a lid that the user has to open to expose the contents to air. This is Power Air's first commercial product, but the company's ultimate goal is to build zinc-based back-up generators and batteries for vehicles.
ReVolt Technologies is developing zinc air batteries for e-bikes. It points to the superior energy density.