New Technique That Could Charge Electric Car in Just 10 Minutes

Tesla and other car companies are selling a record number of electric vehicles (EVs). But even at souped-up “supercharger” stations, the cars still require up to 50 minutes to top off their batteries. A new advance may change that.

One strategy for boosting battery charging speeds has been to raise the battery temperature during charging, which accelerates the chemical reactions inside the battery. But keeping batteries at high temperatures can cause components to break down quickly.

Now, researchers report they can prevent this breakdown, and allow fast charging, if the heat is added just for short periods. By heating up a charging device to 60°C for just 10 minutes, they were able to speed the incorporation of lithium ions into layers of graphite that make up the anode (as shown in the above artist’s representation), the key step in recharging the battery. If scaled up, this would allow them to add 320 kilometers in driving range to conventional lithium-ion batteries, they report today in Joule. The heated batteries were also stable, able to go through 1700 charge-discharge cycles with little degradation.

A trio of scientists were awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for their contributions to the development of the batteries earlier this month.

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