Li-Ion Batteries Can Charge From 0 to 60% in Just 6 Minutes Thanks to a New Trick

Li-Ion batteries can charge from 0 to 60% in just 6 minutes 6 photos
Photo: Volkswagen
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Having an ultra-fast charging experience, similar to how much it takes to fill up a tank, will negate the need for bigger batteries. A new advancement promises to allow charging a Li-Ion battery 0-60% in less than six minutes. It’s just o matter of organizing things in an orderly fashion.
Many Li-Ion studies concentrate on making the batteries hold more charge, thus improving the energy density. Having a bigger-capacity battery will surely allow for more range, although having it all depleted will necessitate a longer charging time. It’s true, the more capacity a battery has, the more it takes to charge, even with the fastest charging stations available today.

Other studies aim at improving the charging process, primarily by allowing the batteries to charge a lot faster. This is another great way to make EVs more convenient. A fast enough charging will help an electric car make do with a lower battery capacity. Think how little it takes to fill up a tank: most of the time, you don’t need a bigger tank because you can fill it up in no time while you buy yourself a coffee.

Granted, electric vehicles can be charged even today in the time you'd need to sip a cup of coffee. The secret is to intelligently charge them before they run completely out. Charging them from say 20% to 80% takes half an hour tops, with some models even completing this cycle in 15 minutes or less. But what about a battery that can take in 10% of charge per minute? This would make it just as fast as filling up the tank and drinking your cup of coffee.

A team of scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei has discovered that using copper and copper nanowires to create a more structured battery anode can drastically reduce the charging time. Their battery charged from zero to 60% and 80% in 5.6 and 11.4 minutes, respectively, while maintaining a high energy capacity.

In our design, we control the whole density in the electrode,” says Yao Hongbion, from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. “We use a higher porosity in the top [of the anode] but lower porosity in the bottom, so that the average porosity has a normal value.”

Yao and his team developed a way to coat the graphite anode particles with copper and copper nanowires to organize the particles by both size and porosity. This allowed not only extremely fast charging but also a high volumetric energy density of 701 Wh per liter at the high charging rate of 6C (six times the battery capacity).

Faster charging rates are considered the Nirvana of Li-Ion battery development. So far, quantum charging is believed to offer the fastest charging rates, but there is no working prototype battery to demonstrate such capability. The research is promising though and we expect to hear more about revolutionary Li-Ion batteries and technologies in the coming years.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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