A new electric car battery that can be fully charged in five minutes has been manufactured for the first time on a normal production line in China, based on designs by Israeli company StoreDot.
The breakthrough could address a significant concern for electric car drivers – the fear of running out of power during a journey, marooning the vehicle for a couple of hours while it charges.
“A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible,” said StoreDot’s chief executive, Dr Doron Myersdorf.
“But we are not releasing a lab prototype, we are releasing engineering samples from a mass production line. This demonstrates that it is feasible and commercially ready,” Dr Myersdorf added.
The company produced 1,000 sample batteries with its manufacturing partner Eve Energy in China.
These samples, which are compliant with Li-ion battery certifications, were manufactured on a normal construction line and will be used to showcase the company’s technology to other companies.
So-called “range anxiety” is the “number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles”, said Dr Myersdorf.
Fast charging lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries is a significant problem for electronics manufacturers and developers, and companies from Samsung to Daimler have invested in StoreDot.
The company’s new batteries are designed differently to standard Li-ion ones, replacing the graphite with semiconductor nanoparticles based on germanium – though they hope to move to silicon in the future.
Because the speed of the charge is based on the battery rather than the charging point, StoreDot’s invention could have a significant impact on the adoption of electric vehicles, which are facing a bottleneck in countries such as the UK that have limited charging stations.
There are more than 30,000 points currently in the UK in over 11,000 locations, and around 10,000 charge points were added in 2019 alone.
But research by Deloitte suggests the UK will need to spend £1.6bn on 28,000 more public points for the estimated seven million EVs that will be on the road by 2030.
In 2019, there were 37,850 BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) registered in the UK – up 144% on the previous year, however they still only account for 1.6% of the market.
Hybrid electric vehicles – combing an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine – are currently more popular, making up 4.2% of the market share, but they are set to be phased out along with petrol and diesel cars by 2035.