Q: Why doesn’t this battery recharge?
A: Firstly, this is not a battery. A rechargeable battery is a secondary power system that carries electrical power. Our technology is a primary power system; it generates electrical power from a fuel rather than just carrying it like a battery. An engine burns fuel to release energy. We just use a different fuel and we use a different ‘engine’ to release that energy. You don't recharge an engine, and in the same way, you don’t recharge an electrical engine, you refuel it.
Q: If it’s not a battery then what is it?
A: This is a new fuel-based power system that releases high levels of energy from aluminium. Métalectrique technology uses a safe chemical reaction to change aluminum to aluminum hydroxide, a safe waste product that can be safely transformed back into aluminium.
Q: Other fuel and battery technologies require ongoing mining and extraction. Why is it different for Métalectrique?
A: This technology is very different to other fuel-based technologies. We don’t need to continually extract aluminium for power because the aluminum is completely conserved. In the reaction, aluminium is transformed into aluminium hydroxide. This can be transformed back into aluminium through a CO2-free smelting process by harnessing natural forms of energy such as solar, wind, geo and hydro power. In effect, energy is transferred from natural sources to mobile uses through an aluminium cycle. The aluminium fuel well has no bottom because the fuel itself is recyclable.
Q: Is the power system safe? Can it set on fire?
A: No, the technology is very safe. Normal operating temperatures are about 25 degrees centigrade (77 fahrenheit). And with the electrolyte, besides the breakthrough when it comes to power, another breakthrough is its safety. It’s harmless and environmentally friendly.
Q: How green is the Métalectrique system?
A: Métalectrique technology produces no CO2 or any harmful gases or substances. The full cycle of the technology includes smelting of aluminium using renewable energy sources. A big change to the smelting process is the removal of the bitumen coating on the anode.This has historically produced a lot of CO2, so the aluminum industry is also focused on a low to zero carbon footprint.
This new smelter process only produces aluminium, oxygen and water, this comes from the oxygen and water that the Métalectrique system consumes as it converts Aluminium into Aluminium Hydroxide.
Q: Electric vehicles can’t go as far as vehicles with an engine. How far can your technology go?
A: At the moment, electric vehicles running on rechargeable batteries can’t go as far as vehicles with a fuel-based power system. Our power system is like an electric engine it doesn’t work in the same way as a battery. In a small electric car, this technology will give you about 1500 miles (2414 km) before refueling. And with bigger cars, with more space for our technology, the milage could be even more.
Q: How does it compare to Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries?
A: A lithium-ion rechargeable battery is heavy and bulky for the energy it has. In energy terms, our technology is 9 times lithium-ion with the same weight and 4 times lithium-ion with the same volume. So we have a lot more energy for much less weight and much less volume.
Q: How much would this technology cost the driver?
A: In an electric vehicle, rechargeable batteries can be in multiples of £10,000 to replace. But why pay for the battery when you can just pay for the power you use. Some electric car companies are looking at this model. We are looking to use that model with our technology. At the end of your 1500 mile range, we will swap your power system for a refuelled one and at no cost to you. You only pay for the miles you drive and you only pay 7 pence per mile.
Q: How it cost the car manufacturer?
A: Battery cost is measured in £/kWh. Lithium-ion battery packs are currently £250 per kWh, which means that the cost of the pack is about 40% of the total cost of the car. By comparison, a Métalectrique pack costs £36 per kWh, which is 6% of the cost of the car. At the moment car manufacturers allow 10% of the cost of the car to cover the engine and fuel tank etc. So this means that the car manufactures can make more profit if they use the Métalectrique system.
Q: Where can I buy one of your power systems?
A: There’s no point buying one of our power systems when you can’t refuel it yourself. It’s like buying an engine without buying the fuel. But you also need to make sure you have the electrolyte to release the energy from the fuel. We’re going to make that easy for you. In the future, you can drive your vehicle to one of our service stations, or we could come to you. We will swap your system for a new one in 90 seconds and off you go, fully refueled. No need to do that yourself, we’ll do that for you. You'll drive off with a new power system every time you refuel. Swapping ensures maintenance and convenience.
Q: This would significantly reduce the cost of an electric car, but what if I want to convert my old petrol/diesel car?
A: We will rip out the old engine, put an electric motor on the axle and put our new electric engine in. You will then be ready for refuelling with our services. All this will cost around £3500 And from there 7 pence for every mile you drive.
Q: What is Métalectrique? What’s the company called?
A: Métalectrique is a combination of two words, Metal and electricity. It’s what we call our technology. It’s french-sounding because Métalectrique had a period of being developed in a french company called Métalectrique SAS. Currently, the company developing this technology is called MAL Research and Development Limited. Métalectrique is the name of the technology, not the name of the company developing the technology.
Q: When will this technology be ready for me to use?
A: Our partner Austin Electric Ltd will be building the first Métalectrique powered cars in 2020.