New ultra-efficient EV battery could charge cars to 60 percent in just six minutes

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A lithium-ion battery has been developed in China that uses copper and copper nanowires to organise its particles, charging to 60 percent in six minutes, without affecting its energy storage. It could soon be used in electric cars, meaning the wait for charge points could be hugely lowered.

Scientist Yao Hongbin of the University of Science and Technology of China and his colleagues have designed a lithium-ion battery with a structured anode, the positive end of a battery.

Their battery charged to 60 percent and 80 percent in 5.6 and 11.4 minutes, respectively, while maintaining a high energy storage on standard tests.

Batteries, which are largely lithium-ion, use binding agents to stick their particles together to provide a solid structure.

This can create a thick battery fluid with a random distribution of particles, leading to slower charging times.

Lithium battery anodes are typically made of graphite particles through which charge flows, with these particles generally arranged in a fairly random order.

Hongbin and his team organised the particles in order of both particle size and the number of gaps between particles, known as porosity.

Although the team didn’t charge up to 100 percent, electric car manufacturers often recommend vehicles be charged to up to 80 percent to maintain battery longevity.

A Tesla typically takes 40 minutes to an hour to get from 40 percent to 80 percent charge.

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It comes as Chevrolet revealed a new system in their EVs that uses a patented heat pump they say will help electric vehicles charge and accelerate faster and boost range by up to 10 percent.

The company will use the new system, named ‘Ultium’ in the first ever all-electric Corvette sports car.

General Motors President Mark Reuss described the technology as a “a patented onboard system that takes the heat generated by EV batteries and uses it to warm the cabin, create more efficient charging conditions, and even increase vehicle acceleration”.

These benefits are only possible with a ground-up EV platform like Ultium and not easily done with a retrofit, according to Reuss.

Last week a battery company in China named CTL launched an alternative way of keeping EVs going.

The company launched a ‘battery swap’ service where people can bring in their cars to have the batteries changed for a fully charged one.

Originally tried and abandoned by Elon Musk last decade, battery swapping is starting to catch on in China, aided by a mix of demographics, geography and surging take-up of EVs.

A battery swap can be completed in less than 10 minutes, much faster than the usual charge time of 30 minutes at minimum.

Meanwhile, Panasonic is developing the lithium-ion 4680 battery, which has five times more energy capacity than current devices, at its Wakayama factory in western Japan.

Elon Musk has said the 4680 will help bring down the price of a Tesla car to about $25,000 (£19,000)

Tesla’s Model 3 currently starts at about $41,000 (£36,000)

Panasonic is the world’s third-largest producer of EV batteries behind CATL.

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