For many years, people have been trying to work out how to produce batteries that can be recharged as fast as you can fuel up a petrol or diesel car. This dream could become a reality soon as electric car batteries that can charged within five minutes have been produced at a factory in China.
The batteries have been dubbed ‘extreme fast charging’ and samples of the technology may soon be showcased to electric vehicle manufacturers some time in the near future when charging technology catches up.
Development of these lithium-ion batteries has been conducted by Israeli company StoreDot that has already raised an incredible £95m in funding from big multi-national companies like BP, Daimler, Samsung and TDK.
The team behind the project have been able to significantly reduce the charging times of these batteries by replacing the graphite in them with nanoparticles that allow ions to pass more quickly and easily.
Of course, these next-generation batteries will require much higher-powered charging networks that we have today. However, StoreDot is aiming to be able to use the existing infrastructure to be able to deliver 100 miles of charge in just five minutes by 2025.
Doron Myersdorf, CEO at the energy specialists, said: “A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible.”
“But we are not releasing a lab prototype, we are releasing engineering samples from a mass production line. This demonstrates it is feasible and it’s commercially ready.”
He added: “The number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is no longer cost, it is range anxiety.
“You’re either afraid that you’re going to get stuck on the highway or you’re going to need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the experience of the driver is exactly like fuelling [a petrol or diesel car], this whole anxiety goes away.”
It has been claimed by the team that developed them that these ‘extreme fast charging’ batteries can be recharged 1,000 times and still maintain 80% of their original power capacity.
Prof Chao-Yang Wang, at the Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center at Pennsylvania State University has suggested that the process of fast charging must be repeatable at least 500 times without causing degradation to the battery, in order to give them a reasonable life.
Wang also believes similar ‘extreme fast charging’ batteries will be available to the mass market in the next three years, he said: “Finally we are achieving parity with gasoline vehicles in both cost and convenience.”
Anna Tomaszewska, at Imperial College London, is less optimistic: “I think technologies [like StoreDot’s] could start entering the market in the next five years or so.
“However, since they will be more difficult and expensive to manufacture, we’re likely to initially only see them in niche markets that are highly performance-driven and not as price-sensitive as electric vehicles.”
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