Energy

$3,500 EV battery prototype promises 200-mile range on a 10-minute charge

$3,500 EV battery prototype pr...
A newly developed battery has the potential to recharge electric vehicles in as little as 10 minutes, the researchers behind it claim
A newly developed battery has the potential to recharge electric vehicles in as little as 10 minutes, the researchers behind it claim
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A newly developed battery has the potential to recharge electric vehicles in as little as 10 minutes, the researchers behind it claim
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A newly developed battery has the potential to recharge electric vehicles in as little as 10 minutes, the researchers behind it claim

Around 12 months ago we looked at an innovative prototype battery for electric vehicles that was highly promising on several fronts, including being able to be recharged in just 10 minutes for hundreds of miles of range. The researchers behind it have continued tweaking their approach, and have added a couple more desirable attributes to the list, including a price point they say is on par with internal combustion engines.

Developed by a team of chemical engineers at Penn State University, the original battery was able to be charged in a relatively short space of time by subjecting it to what the scientists considered extreme temperatures. Normally, lithium batteries need to operate within a certain temperature range. When conditions are too cold, lithium ions form dangerous spikes on one of the electrodes, while when too hot, it can lead to other forms of degradation.

The Penn State University team found a way around this, and took their battery into “forbidden” territory by charging it at “extreme” temperatures, heating it to 60° C (140° F) and then quickly cooling it. This was enabled by a thin nickel foil that attaches to the negative terminal and quickly warms the battery, with these short and sharp bursts of heat enabling the device to charge up far more efficiently.

So much so, it could be charged up enough to offer an electric vehicle a range of more than 200 miles (320 km) in just 10 minutes. This fast-charging capability, meanwhile, allows the team to downsize the device, while still offering a useful range.

In the time since, the researchers have continued experimenting with the design of their innovative battery, including investigating alternative materials for the cathode. Where the original used a nickel-cobalt-manganese, the new and improved version uses lithium-iron-phosphate instead.

The battery works on the same principle, using a thin nickel foil to rapidly hit extreme temperatures and charge up before cooling again, but these new materials offer a couple of advantages. The first is that they do away with cobalt, which is a common objective in battery research as the material is rare, expensive and mining it is detrimental to the environment and human workers. The second is that these materials are low cost.

“The fundamental difference is that this work solely aims at reducing battery cost so that it becomes affordable for mass-market electric vehicles,” lead researcher Chao-Yang Wang tells New Atlas. “Indeed, we have created a 40-kWh battery in this work, which has 200-mile range per charge and then extended by 10-minute fast charge. In other words, we have used convenient, fast recharge to downsize the vehicle battery and drive the cost down to US$3,500, which is on par with gasoline engines.”

Wang also says that the battery can produce 300 kW peak power, which is enough to propel an electric vehicle from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in three seconds, and that the new design still proved very safe in their testing and should last for two million miles (3.2 million km) of electrified driving. While there is a lot more research and development to take place before that happens, the researchers believe they’ve got the makings of a game-changing device.

"This battery has reduced weight, volume and cost," says Wang. "I am very happy that we finally found a battery that will benefit the mainstream consumer mass market."

The research was published in the journal Nature Energy.

Source: Penn State University

10 comments
10 comments
jerryd
You can do this now in less weight with CLPs like CATL's they sell to Tesla in China.
guzmanchinky
It is only a matter of (short) time before we have a car that can charge to almost full in the same time it takes to fill a normal fuel tank. Good riddance gasoline.
Dziks
To drive 320km we need in average 70kWh. It is because an average usage on highway is 22kW/100km. To recharge it in 10 min would mean a power supply of minimum 420kW. I would love to see it but it will not be any time soon.....
NMorris
@Dziks the article says 200 miles at 40kWHr
means 40kWHr in 10 mins, 240kWHr in one hour, at 10 amps = 24kV, with repurposed EV batteries as the source, charged more slowly from the normal distribution grid, you should easily get to 24 kV,
Charging at 20 amps means 12 kV.
Why do you think that's not doable now
GeoffreyR.Gunning
@NMorris: What you seem to be suggesting is that EV batteries should be recharged from other batteries that have themselves been recharged at a much slower rate from the grid earlier. Fair enough, but how would you handle 100-200 EV's coming in daily for a recharge? You would need that same number of batteries already recharged, and at the ready. 40 kWH X 100 vehicles = 4 megaWH daily. How would you handle this?
Bob Flint
Drive up to arrays of well insulated pulse capacitors charged from artificially induced lightning.
WB
wow as they say in german.. it's the Egg laying wool producing milk producing pig.... but will be the same problem as usual.. big announcements and then a big nothing even decades after.. plenty of those. Those claims are all so off the charts. How a 40kw batter can do 0 to 60 in 3s and have 200mile range... come on guys a dose of reality here.
mediabeing
It's nice, but it's still far behind gasoline.
I want my next car to be electric.
The idea of standing around for 10 minutes isn't attractive, especially when that number is probably based on the very best situation, which most of us won't be experiencing.
Karmudjun
Many of these comments remind me of a mythical statement by an investor wishing to invest in the new-fangled automobile in the 1910's - imagine a broker patiently explaining "Better to put your money into buggy whips, these smelly, noisy contraptions are only for fair weather fun but buggies and wagons have a year round demand - buy shares in buggy whip manufacture".
Yes, a 40KW battery pack the price of a small engine. It can charge quickly because it has greater complexity which is needed to increase the temperature during charge and then drop the component temperature again - does it cycle once per charge? Several times per charge? How many joules used to recharge it in 10 minutes - or how much of the charge current results in charged batteries as opposed to creating the quick charge conditions?
Lastly - who is going to use this battery pack with even a 2010 Tesla? Remember something liberals get maligned for - things that you know to be true will change as breakthroughs advance technology. But we can focus on what we know today and instead discount the article and the breakthrough that it presents. Better batteries, faster charging, cheaper cost, lower risk along the supply and manufacturing chain - these things are a foresighted industrialists dream! Is it scalable yet? Is it ready to manufacture? Nope, but it takes these breakthroughs to set the stage for "wiping the floor with the current battery systems".
Bruce H. Anderson
Better batteries are nice. Charging a car-sized one in 10 minutes may be a challenge. Buy copper futures.