OCT 14, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Charging an Electric Vehicle in Just 10 Minutes

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Electric vehicles are common and increasingly popular alternative to vehicles powered by traditional combustion engines. In the fight for more environmentally friendly transportation options that help limit the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, electric vehicles are a top choice. The need for more electric vehicles has increased exponentially recently, with states like California making plans to ban gas-powered cars within the next decade or so.

While these are ambitious, laudable goals, electric vehicles currently face a significant challenge to their widespread adoption: cost and battery charging times. Charging times, in particular, pose major challenges. Currently, electric vehicles can take almost a full day to complete a charge. And even then, without robust infrastructure such as regular charging stations, it can make it hard to travel long distances with an electric vehicle. Coupled with the cost of matters (often because they are so large), electric vehicles are hard to get for some people.

Given these compounding factors and the time crunch for transitioning to electric vehicles, researchers are searching for new ways to transform the production of electric vehicle batteries to make them more efficient and quicker and easier to charger. One team of researchers at Penn State have developed a battery that can be charged in about ten minutes time. Their work is published in a recent article in Nature.

Specifically, Penn State researchers have developed a batter that is about a third of the kWh of a typical electric vehicle battery, without causing an electric vehicle to lose how far it can go on a charge. As a smaller battery, it offers a more efficient option for electric vehicles that is also cheaper and reduces the need for in demand raw materials like cobalt and lithium, allowing companies to mass produce electric vehicles.

How did researchers accomplish such a compact, efficient battery? They turned to a process called internal thermal modulation, which helps control the temperature of a battery. While batteries operate best when they are hot, there’s a Goldilocks zone where a battery can become too hot and not operate efficiently. Thermal modulation keeps temperature right where it needs to be from within the battery, without the need for expensive, slow external heating and cooling mechanisms.

Sources: Eurekalert!; Nature

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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