Worries about charging electric cars could become a thing of the past, as a team of engineers say they have developed a battery that can recharge in 10 minutes.
Fast-charging of electric vehicles is seen as key to their take-up, so motorists can stop at a service station and fully charge their car in the time it takes to get a coffee and use the toilet - taking no longer than a conventional break.
It will tackle 'range anxiety', in which drivers fear running out of juice before they reach their destination on a long journey.
But rapid charging of lithium-ion batteries can degrade the batteries, researchers at Penn State University in the US say.
The researchers showed they could fully charge an electrical vehicle in 10 minutes, and the battery could be recharged many times
WHAT ARE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO ERADICATE PETROL AND DIESEL CARS?
At present, the Government's ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is set to come into effect by 2040.
Scotland has a different set of guidelines, indicating the switch-over and ban of petrol or diesel vehicles should happen by 2032.
The Committee on Climate Change believes the date should be brought forward to 2030 – or 2035 at the very latest.
It predicts electric cars will be roughly the same price as their traditionally powered counterparts by around 2024 to 2025.
Current targets in England mean internal combustion engines will still be n the road in 2050, producing large amounts of greenhouse gases.
This is because the flow of lithium particles known as ions from one electrode to another to charge the unit and hold the energy ready for use does not happen smoothly with rapid charging at lower temperatures.
Instead of the ions being smoothly deposited in the anode electrode, they end up in spikes on the surface, in what is known as lithium plating, reducing the capacity of the battery and potentially making it unsafe.
Charging at higher temperatures avoids the lithium plating issue, but long periods of high heat also degrade the batteries, the researchers said.
They have now found that if the batteries could heat to 60C (140F) for just 10 minutes and then rapidly cool again to ambient temperatures, lithium spikes would not form and heat damage would be avoided.
The battery design they have come up with is self-heating, using a thin nickel foil which creates an electrical circuit that heats in less than 30 seconds to warm the inside of the battery.
The rapid cooling that would be needed after the battery is charged would be done using the cooling system designed into the car.
In a battery, ions flows from the cathode to the anode, resulting in a positive energy charge for the unit
Their study, published in the journal Joule, showed they could fully charge an electrical vehicle in 10 minutes, and the battery could be recharged many times.
Professor Chao-Yang Wang at Penn State said: 'We demonstrated that we can charge an electrical vehicle in 10 minutes for a 200 to 300-mile range, and we can do this maintaining 2,500 charging cycles, or the equivalent of half a million miles of travel.
'The 10-minute trend is for the future and is essential for adoption of electric vehicles because it solves the range anxiety problem,' he said.
HOW TO CHARGE ELECTRIC CARS SAFELY
Never use a domestic multi socket extension lead when charging your electric vehicle. If you do need to use an extension lead only ever use one that is suitable for outdoor use such as a reel cable.
Never ‘daisy-chain’ extension leads. The method of plugging more than one extension lead into another in order to reach a greater distance increases the risk of an electrical fire as well as electric shock.
Always buy your charging cable from a reputable retailer or directly from the manufacturer who will put such products through rigorous tests to ensure they meet UK safety standards.
Ensure you frequently check your charging cable for wear and tear and replace it if any damage is evident.
If you are charging from a 13A mains socket in your home, ensure the wiring in your property has been checked prior to doing so. Old wiring may not be able to cope with the demand from charging your vehicle overnight and risk a fire in your property.
The safest and most convenient way to charge your vehicle at home is through a dedicated wall box charging point. Ensure this is installed by a qualified, registered and competent electrician only. Use our ‘find an electrician’ page to locate one near you.
Take advantage of the on-going Government schemes aimed at relieving consumers of some of the cost linked to the installation of a home charging point.
Source: Electrical Safety First