Battery Tech Breakthrough: 10-Minute Charge Time Paves Way for Mass Adoption of Affordable Electric Car

Scientists develop a new technique that charges EV batteries in just 10 minutes.

A design breakthrough has enabled a 10-minute charge time for a typical electric vehicle battery. A paper detailing the record-breaking combination of a shorter charge time and more energy acquired for a longer travel range was published on October 12 in the journal Nature.

“The need for smaller, faster-charging batteries is greater than ever,” said Chao-Yang Wang, lead author on the study. “There are simply not enough batteries and critical raw materials, especially those produced domestically, to meet anticipated demand.” Wang is the William E. Diefenderfer Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State.

The Air Resources Board of California adopted a comprehensive plan in August to impose restrictions on and eventually outlaw the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles in the state. This means that by 2035, the largest auto market in the United States will effectively retire the internal combustion engine.

Wang explained that if new car sales are going to shift to battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs), they’ll need to overcome two major drawbacks. First, they are too slow to recharge. Second, they are too large to be efficient and affordable. Instead of taking a few minutes at the gas pump, some EVs can take all day to recharge depending on the battery.

“Our fast-charging technology works for most energy-dense batteries and will open a new possibility to downsize electric vehicle batteries from 150 to 50 kWh without causing drivers to feel range anxiety,” said Wang, whose lab partnered with State College-based startup EC Power to develop the technology. “The smaller, faster-charging batteries will dramatically cut down battery cost and usage of critical raw materials such as cobalt, graphite, and lithium, enabling mass adoption of affordable electric cars.”

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