Posted on : Wednesday 11th March 2020 08:51 AM
Scientists in the U.S. have reported a technological breakthrough that could resolve one of the main worries surrounding all-electric vehicles, saying just 10 minutes of charging time could add 200 miles (320 km) of driving range.
Writing in the journal Joule on Wednesday, researchers at Pennsylvania State University said that such a speedy charge rate demanded a battery to quickly take in 400 kilowatts of energy. Current-generation vehicles are not capable of this feat because it risks the lithium plating, the formation of metallic lithium around the anode, which would badly deteriorate battery life.
To circumvent this constraint, the researchers raised the temperature of their experimental battery to 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) in the course of the charge cycle, then reduced it back down as it was used. What this does is “limit the battery’s exposure to the elevated charge temperature, thus generating a very long cycle life,” said senior author Chao-Yang Wang, a mechanical engineer at The Pennsylvania State University.
But turning up the design and bringing it to market may take a decade, said Rick Sachleben, an affiliate of the American Chemical Society. Makers will need to ensure that instantly raising the temperature is safe and stable, and doesn’t lead to explosions given the phenomenal amount of energy that is being transferred.
“Fast charging is one of the holy grails of electric vehicles,” he said. “It’s one of the things that is necessary for them to compete with petroleum-fueled internal combustion engines.”
The current generation of Tesla vehicles need around 30 minutes for a partial charge. One of the inventors of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries who was granted a Nobel Prize in chemistry in October, M. Stanley Whittingham, says ongoing research will continue to make the batteries cheaper, safer and with greater energy density. Further more improvements to the technology may also strengthen efforts to eliminate climate change by enabling greater use of renewable-energy sources, Whittingham said.
He stated Lithium-ion batteries will continue to influence in smart phones and electric vehicles for at least the next 10 years, “because there is nothing really on the horizon,” though Toyota Motor Corp. and American companies are improving solid-state batteries. It is not clear yet whether you will get a decent amount of power” from such batteries, he added. “They may work for items like iPhones initially, but there are some big questions before they are used in larger-scale systems.
Still, Whittingham said, if you look at the sellers of electricity, they do not particularly want them to be charged very fast.”