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Sino-US team to develop better batteries

DRIVERS of electric cars won't have to worry about battery charging in future as American and Chinese scientists are collaborating to develop a new type of battery to increase its capacity.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University and University of Michigan signed a contract today, planning to invest US$3 million into new energy research.

"Scientists of the two countries will develop sustainable energy for effective clean vehicles," said Mary Coleman, president of the University of Michigan.

They will work to develop a lithium-air battery, which can store more than 100 times the power of a lithium-hydrogen battery, which electric vehicles now use.

"The new battery is expected to be developed in two to three years and put into use in five years," said Ni Jun, dean of UM-SJTU Joint Institute.

Battery technology has been a bottleneck to the development of electric vehicles.

By using air-conditioning in the hot weather, electric buses running in the World Expo site take twice as long to recharge.

Outside the Expo site, many electric vehicle drivers complain about the low capacity of batteries, which only support short trips.

Researchers will also join hands to develop other new energies including better solar energy with nanotechnology, school officials said.

Meanwhile, the two universities also plan to invest another US$3 million into biomedical science.


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