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New battery design could charge electric cars in 10 minutes

Everyone who is interested in electric vehicles also knows the usual criticisms: long charging times, limited range, it depends on the availability of the charging station and so on and so forth. To make electric cars more palatable to the general public, Penn State University researchers have made a breakthrough in reducing the charging time of lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers published a report in Joule, a journal focused on science for sustainable energy. There are still some hurdles to overcome in research, but the long-awaited dream of a battery that recharges quickly and can be installed in electric vehicles has come a long way.

With the new technology, a lithium-ion battery should be charged within 10 minutes (!). Let's compare this briefly: In a house with standard 120 volt sockets, you get about three to eight kilometers range per hour. A more powerful 240 volt power outlet powers the car for 16 to 32 kilometers per hour. As far as the values ​​in a conventional household.

Although there are already fast charging stations, but also there it can take up to 20 minutes to get only about 100 kilometers range. An even faster charge could not be advanced due to the deleterious effects of the lithium coating. This forms when the current flows through too fast.


The key to solving this problem is to quickly heat the battery to 60 degrees Celsius in 30 seconds and maintain that temperature during the charging cycle. A simple nickel foil is wrapped around the battery.

With this system, the battery had 91,7% capacity after 2,500 charging cycles and that's really amazing. This corresponds to about 800,000 kilometers of driving distance with hardly more charging time than when refueling. That sounds great first and after a real break. Nevertheless, there are further hurdles before going out with the method in public.

By raising the temperature and stabilizing the battery, environmental problems could arise. If a battery gets too hot, it can explode and that would be very unpleasant. However, if it is too cold, the known lithium coating forms - so it is a balancing act to find the right temperature.

Another problem is that a new type of fast charging station is needed or existing ones need to be upgraded. After all, all battery manufacturers would have to standardize the nickel foil in their designs. It is a further step forward in an important area and these problems will be solved as well.

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