A project funded in part by the Defense Department, Energy Department, and other federal agencies sure looks like it was worth the money. Researchers were able to develop a charging device that can recharge a standard electric vehicle battery in just 10 minutes. Such swift charging helps alleviate what’s known as “range anxiety,” defined as the fear that an EV will run out of power before reaching a charging station. It’s considered one of the issues—along with cost—that keeps consumers from buying electric vehicles.
The fast-charging device would also help with material scarcity. According to researchers, “since there are not enough raw minerals for every internal combustion engine car to be replaced by a 150 kWh-equipped EV, fast charging is imperative for EVs to go mainstream.” Study partner EC Power is hoping to capitalize on this advancement and more widely manufacturing fast-charging devices in order to meet consumer needs as well as net-zero goals, such as California’s mandate that all new cars rolled out by 2035 must be zero-emission. California—and the entire U.S.—could reach that goal much faster, thanks to this innovation.
“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,” lead study author Chao-Yang Wang added. Wang, who serves as the William E. Diefenderfer Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State, is one of a handful of Penn State researchers who worked on the project.
In addition to the more recent battery-charging project, Wang was also part of a team that last year worked on an innovative self-heating lithium iron phosphate battery with a range of 250 miles that could also quickly recharge in 10 minutes. Wang’s research team believes the battery’s lifetime would be able to span up to 2 million miles—considerably more distance than a standard combustible engine.
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