A crucial downside of a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) is the charge time – plug-in hybrids such as the Volvo S90 T8 with a 3.7kW onboard charger takes about 3 hours for a fast charge, therefore even if you have a 50kW fast charger, the car can only accept 3.7kW during a charge. The fastest DC chargers in the world are rated for 350kW, but most modern EVs can only accept approximately 100kW, which still leads to long charging hours.
Manufacturers, third-party service providers, and governments have all had various methods of tackling the problem: these include improving infrastructure, improving the rate at which cars are charged, improving charging solutions at the home and office, to removable batteries. Though every case presents its own set of pros and cons. None would be able to match the rate at which it takes you to fuel up your car with petrol and diesel at the pump, and get on the road again.
But that now may be a thing of the past!
What if your EV batteries require just 5 minutes to be juiced up to full? That would literally revolutionise EV car usage and ensure that for the first time ever, range and charge anxiety need not be associated with using an electric vehicle.
The Guardian reports, that batteries with this immense charging capacity have been produced for the first time in a factory by Israeli company StoreDot. StoreDot developed these fast-charging lithium-ion batteries which are now being produced by Eve Energy on production lines. Thus far, StoreDot has shown a proof of concept of its fast-charging batteries in smartphones, drones, and E-Scooters and is now trying to showcase the battery’s viability for use in EV vehicles.
The EV FlashBattery
Dubbed the EV FlashBattery, it will enable a charging experience that is very similar to fueling a gasoline or diesel car. It enables full charge in 5 minutes, providing up to 300 miles (480 km) of driving distance, depending on the model of your EV.
EV FlashBattery’s remarkably fast charging rate is achieved due to StoreDot’s novel materials and new battery structure. The EV will be installed with a pack comprising of hundreds of EV FlashBattery cells that can store enough energy for a full EV range on a 5-minute charge. For a 300-mile (482 km) driving range EV this translates to 60 miles (approximately 100km) of travel range on a 1-minute charge.
How does it work?
According to the report, the major difference between the StoreDot battery other Lithium-ion batteries lies in the batteries electrode. Existing batteries use a graphite electrode, into which Lithium ions are pushed through and stored. But, when these electrodes are rapidly charged, the ions get congested and can turn into metal, and short circuit the battery. Heat within the battery and battery cells is another limiting factor.
StoreDot’s technology - which already has 57 grants and 45 pending patents – uses semiconductor nanoparticles that allow ions to pass through the electrode quicker and charge the battery. StoreDot currently uses a Germanium based semiconductor, but the company plans to use Silicon in the future which will dramatically cut cost, making these batteries no more expensive than current Lithium-ion batteries.
Additionally, StoreDot’s batteries also use proprietary organic compounds; additives in the electrodes that reduce mechanical strain and prevent undesired side reactions between the electrode and electrolyte.
Besides that, the battery’s architecture is built with a highly stable electrode structure and contains materials that are far less flammable and more stable at high temperatures than current Lithium-ion technology.
Finally, these batteries are also environmentally safer than a traditional Lithium-ion battery, utilizing organic compounds and a friendlier aquatic-based manufacturing process.
Who’s interested in StoreDot's EV FlashBattery?
The remarkable ability of the EV FlashBattery has already piqued the interests of companies such as British Petroleum, Daimler, and Samsung, who have all invested in StoreDot’s operations. The company has already produced 1,000 units of its battery on a production line.
Tesla, Enevate, and Sila Technologies are some of the other companies that are also actively working on creating the superfast charging batteries, but with StoreDot having already produced these batteries, they are showing the technology is feasible, and further along than just a technology prototype.
StoreDot says that it will be able to realise its five minute charge time in 2025 but says, at that point, batteries will no longer be the limiting factor to charging times, rather the charging infrastructure and fast chargers.