Recharging an electric car could soon be as quick as filling up with fuel

Electric vehicle batteries that fully charge in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time

The uptake on electric vehicles around that world has varied in pace.

In the UK, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a new green plan last year, which included a ban on new petrol or diesel cars and vans being sold in the UK from 2030. The UK public have been hot on the uptake of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with sales of 100% electric and plug-in hybrid cars accounting for one in 10 of cars registered in the UK in 2020, with one electric vehicle registered every three minutes.

In Norway, electric cars now outstrip those powered by fossil fuels, with BEVs making up 54.3% of all new cars sold there last year.

Globally, the sales of electric cars rose by 43 per cent to more than three million in 2020, despite overall car sales going down, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a slightly different story in Australia, where electric vehicles accounted for just 1 per cent of annual car sales in 2020. However, despite not having a national target for electric vehicle ownership, the federal Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics forecasts that even in Australia, 60 per cent of new cars sales will be electric by 2046.

Perhaps this new development will have an impact on this too, especially if running out of charge on a long journey is a worry for drivers.

New lithium-ion batteries developed by Israeli company, StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China on standard production lines, have the ability to fully charge in just five minutes – about the same amount of time it takes to fill up a petrol or diesel vehicle.

The catch? To make the charge in five minutes requires much higher-powered chargers than currently available in today’s charging infrastructure. However, StoreDot is aiming to deliver 160km (100 miles) of charge to a car battery in five minutes by 2025.

Professor Chao-Yang Wang, of the Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center at Pennsylvania State University in the US, noted in the Guardian that fast charging must also be repeatable at least 500 times without degrading the battery, to give it a reasonable life. The StoreDot battery has the ability to be recharged 1,000 times whilst retaining 80 per cent of its original capacity.

Some quick maths. If StoreDot meets its target of 160km on one battery charge, that means you would have to drive 160,000km before that battery dropped to 80 per cent capacity, 160,000km is the equivalent of navigating the circumference of Australia on Highway 1 more than 10 times.

Experts have said that the battery could be available to the mass market within five years, but may initially first be available in niche markets.

Read more at the Guardian and Earth.org.

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