Engineers 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 Pennsylvania State University developed a lithium-ion battery capable of adding 200 to 300 miles of driving range to an electric car in 10 minutes by charging it at an elevated temperature.
“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 half a million miles of travel. Typical lithium-ion batteries would only last around 60 charges using the new method.
The discovery comes just weeks after the inventors of the first lithium-ion battery were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The combined work of John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino led to the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery being produced in 1985. They are now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops, as well as the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry.
The researchers now hope to improve this charge time 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.”