Thursday, March 4, 2021

5-minute-charge battery sparks hope for ‘anxiety-free’ long-range electric cars

Electric car drivers could be powering along long-distance interstate highways free from range anxiety in three years' time.

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Battery technology startup StoreDot announced on Tuesday that it has developed the world’s first car battery that can be fully charged from zero in just five minutes.

However, the ultra-fast charge requires much higher-power chargers than are currently available to motorists, The Guardian reports.

Since their inception, electric cars have faced the challenge of batteries taking hours to fully charge, giving rise to “range anxiety”: the fear of a battery running out mid-journey.

But now, provided that charging stations undergo a major upgrade, charging an electric car could become as quick as stopping to refuel a petrol operated vehicle.

In June last year, the Israeli startup said it had achieved a “world first” when it fully charged a two-wheeled electric vehicle in just five minutes.

This was engineered together with the development arm of British multinational oil company BP, which has invested heavily in the project.

The new technology has also demonstrated ultra-fast charging times for phones, something which should give a tremendous jolt to the smartphone market.

1,000 of the car batteries have already been manufactured in China by German firm Eve Systems, to demonstrate the technology to international automobile manufacturers.

StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf said, “We’re on the cusp of achieving a revolution in electric vehicle charging that will remove the critical barrier to mass adoption of electric vehicles.”

He told The Guardian, “A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible, but we are releasing samples from our mass production line, demonstrating it is feasible and it’s commercially ready. The bottleneck to extra-fast charging is no longer the battery.”

Professor Chao-Yang Wang of the Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center at Pennsylvania State University in the US told The Guardian: “I think such fast-charging batteries will be available to the mass market in three years. They will not be more expensive; in fact, they will allow automakers to downsize the onboard battery while still eliminating range anxiety, thereby dramatically cutting down the vehicle battery cost.”

StoreDot is currently working with BP on upgrading charging stations and the grids that supply them.

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