Today’s Solutions: October 22, 2021

One of the major barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles is the length of time it takes to charge the battery compared to filling a car with petrol. What might alleviate the issue, though, is a new kind of battery technology developed by scientists at Penn State University, which overcomes existing bottlenecks to offer an EV battery that takes only minutes to get back to 100 percent charge.

According to the engineers, the new battery can be charged in 10 minutes for a 200 to 300-mile range, while maintaining 2,500 charging cycles, or the equivalent of half a million miles of travel.

That last part’s important because EV batteries – much like the ones in your smartphone or notebook – are lithium-ion batteries, which have a limited number of charge/discharge cycles before they degrade past the point of being useful. One of the factors that can hasten that degradation is heating, which leads to lithium deposits forming around the negative pole of the battery during charging.

But the researchers have actually managed to use heat to their advantage. Specifically, they found that with a 140-degree Fahrenheit heat boost, batteries could recharge 2,500 times with no lithium plating. Next, the engineering team is planning to take their design a step further by seeking out materials that would allow them to fully charge an EV battery in just 5 minutes.

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