As EVs continue to generate attention and popularity among consumers, questions almost always circle back to charging infrastructure — how long does it take to charge an EV? Is the range anxiety so many Canadians feel when considering the purchase of an EV justified? What will the future of battery charging look like?
Fortunately, it appears that new lithium ion batteries that use copper and copper nanowires to create more internal structure could eventually be used to charge EVs to 60 per cent in as little as six minutes, without affecting energy storage.
Through their work at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Yao Hongbin and his colleagues have designed a lithium ion battery with “a structured anode, the positive end of a battery.” This is a departure from other batteries, which use “binding agents to create a solid anode that tends to have a random distribution of particles, which leads to slower charging times.”
Hongbin reveals that he and his team organized the particles in order of particle size and tweaked an electrode property known as porosity. “In our design, we control the whole density in the electrode,” says Yao. “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.”
During testing, their innovative battery design charged from empty to 60 per cent in 5.6 minutes, and 80 per cent in 11.4 minutes, all while maintaining high energy storage. Hongbin and his team didn’t record the time to get to a 100 per cent charge; however, based on these findings, we can assume it’s quite impressive.There is no word, however, on the size of the battery being tested.
While this is undeniably exciting, Billy Wu at Imperial College London notes that the “additional processing steps” required to coat the graphite and make the copper nanowires while configuring the battery could add “appreciable cost. “Heating and cooling the anode may also add an additional cost to what is traditionally a cheaper battery component,” explains Wu.