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This Electric Car Battery Refills Like A Gas Tank


Developments to Watch

THIS ELECTRIC-CAR BATTERY REFILLS LIKE A GAS TANK

Someday soon, drivers pulling into a service station to "fill `er up" might want battery fuel, not gasoline. Luz Industries Ltd., an Israeli solar-energy company, has developed a refuelable battery for electric cars. Forget about overnight recharging, says Yehuda Harats, president of the Jerusalem-based Luz Electric Fuel subsidiary: The battery's 20 gallons of zinc-based slurry, which generates electricity by reacting with oxygen in the air, would be drained and replenished in about five minutes.

Each fill-up would last for about 300 miles, and the depleted slurry would be collected by the oil companies, recharged, and then resold at their filling stations. Early next year, Luz plans to demonstrate its battery with a 400-mile spin around California, then kick off production in 1994. Initially, the refuel-able battery will be expensive--roughly $10,000--but the company expects the price to drop to around $2,500 with volume production.EDITED BY WILLIAM D. MARBACH


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