Breakthrough allows charging to be just a 10 minute affair
One of the primary reasons we're so reluctant to use electric vehicles is due to the never-ending charging times. In contrast to petrol which takes a couple of minutes, a charging station takes hours to fill up half the juice. At a time when people get agitated if a webpage doesn't load up quickly enough, carmakers want us to wait an eternity, every time we want to head out for a long drive? Fortunately, not for long. Pun intended.
A technological breakthrough has prompted scientists to claim the charging time required to procure 200 miles, or 320kms of range can get reduced to just 10 minutes. Writing in a journal Joule, researchers at the Pennsylvania State University stated the possibility of adding 400 kilowatts of energy to a car battery within that time frame.
Although that sounds pretty amazing, the execution isn't the same. Introducing these methods to the current bunch of our EV batteries might damage it. Hence, researchers have found a workaround for this. The battery's temperature had to be raised to 60 degree Celsius while receiving the charge and then subsequently lowered while it was getting utilised, to sustain the battery pack's long life cycle.
Senior author Chao-Yang Wang, a mechanical engineer at The Pennsylvania State University, explained this process. He mentioned that by doing the above, we could "limit the battery's exposure to the elevated charge temperature, thus generating a very long cycle life."
The reason our current crop of electric vehicles can't achieve the same feat is battery life. Introducing such high volts of energy at an equally rapid pace can cause lithium plating or the formation of metallic lithium around the anode. If this happens, the risk of these batteries getting damaged is immense.
Moreover, the electric cars are all made up of batteries residing on the car floor. Users can't just take out batteries and replace them with new ones, as in case of AAs. The process here is much more complicated than that. In fact, once these batteries go defunct, the possibility of that car getting scrapped remains high.
While this may seem like a viable alternative to our traditional splash-and-dash method, certain researchers still believe we're years away from making it feasible. It is the onus of carmakers to ensure charging these batteries at such high temperatures is safe and stable, and it won't lead to explosions. Rick Sachleben, a member of the American Chemical Society even told AFP that scaling up such a design and bringing it to the market may take a decade.