In a development with the potential to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), engineers in the US have discovered a way to recharge electric cars in just 10 minutes, overcoming one of the biggest obstacles with electric vehicles.
Electric cars currently take longer than an hour to fully recharge, with the original Tesla Model S taking 75 minutes to achieve a full charge.
Researchers at Penn State University have developed a lithium-ion battery capable of adding 200 to 300 miles (320 to 480 kilometres) of driving range to an electric car by charging it at an elevated temperature for 10 minutes.
“In addition to fast charging, this design allows us to limit the battery’s exposure time to the elevated charge temperature, thus generating a very long cycle life,” said senior author, Chao-Yang Wang, a mechanical engineer at Penn State University.
“The key is to realise rapid heating, otherwise the battery will stay at elevated temperatures for too long, causing severe degradation. The 10-minute trend is for the future and is essential for adoption of electric vehicles because it solves the range anxiety problem.”
The extremely fast charging process could be carried out without causing significant damage to the battery, meaning it could sustain 2,500 charging cycles – the equivalent of 800,000km of travel. Current lithium-ion batteries would only last around 60 charges using the new method.
The researchers say they hope to improve the charge time even further, to just five minutes.
“We are working to charge an energy-dense electric vehicle battery in five minutes without damaging it,” Mr Wang said.
“This will require highly stable electrolytes and active materials in addition to the self-heating structure we have invented.”