City and Transportation

An electric full in 10 minutes

19 November 2019 | Written by La redazione

The world of electric cars is growing but recharging time remains a fundamental obstacle to be overcome to allow a widespread distribution of these vehicles

One of the biggest problems of electric cars, as well as an easy controversy for its detractors, is that recharging the batteries takes 30/40 minutes. This is an understandable criticism because it inevitably lengthens the travel time, especially on long distances. At Penn State University, to address this criticality, a research group has developed batteries that can recharge in 10 minutes and thus guarantee a charge for 500 km. To do this, they take advantage of a pre-charged heating cycle and therefore of rapid cooling after the full, avoiding the deterioration of the battery and allowing rapid charging. This is just one of the results obtained by the many groups that study new ways to find the “sacred grail” of fast recharging, we find out what are the most recent developments and the most promising research.


A full battery, please. It’s called “Flow battery” and could represent a paradigm shift in the world of electric cars. This solution, in fact, overcomes the problem, eliminating the battery and replacing it with a liquid containing active electro substances, therefore capable of feeding the electric motors. Full time? The same required for a full tank of gas. The problem is weight: to obtain the same energy efficiency as a lithium battery, much more space is required, not to mention that these systems may require the use of pumps, sensors, control units and secondary containment tanks, all parts that they weigh down the vehicle and reduce its efficiency.


Hot and cold. Preheating, a system already in use on Tesla, allows faster charging and longer battery life. Research from Penn State University confirms this: bringing the batteries to 60 ° C for 10 minutes and then letting them cool down quickly to temperature avoids the development of lithium plates, formation on the cathode of the battery that in the long run will compromise its effectiveness. But there are those who are trying an opposite approach: Piëch Automotive presented at the Geneva Motor Show a battery capable of recharging up to 80% in just 5 minutes, cooling the batteries.


Fixing the refill. According to some, the solution would not be found in better performing batteries but in faster charging systems, such as the one used in Formula E to recharge a battery with an autonomy of 200 km in just 8 minutes. Clearly systems of this type require adequate infrastructures as they must be able to supply up to 350 kW. Technological innovation chases our need to save time and ever more efficient batteries with ever faster refills are constantly changing. But perhaps the solution is much simpler: learn to take longer breaks during driving sessions, so as to give yourself time to recharge not only our car but also ourselves.



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