At the Netherlands’ University of Twente, scientists have taken yet another step towards relieving a major worry of drivers thinking about owning an electric vehicle—waiting around for 20 or 30 minutes at a public charging station while your EV fuels up.
No matter that a typical EV can run for two days or more on an overnight charge at home; the idea of being stranded far from an outlet in a dead EV looms large on drivers’ list of fears about owning an electric car or truck.
That’s where Twente’s innovation steps in.
The anode terminal in conventional EV lithium batteries is usually made of graphite, but that can break down under fast charging rates.
Engineers have been testing materials shot through with nanopores, which expose more of the lithium-containing liquid electrolyte to the terminal’s material, which cuts charging time.
However, the pores in these materials have random structures, allowing lithium to build up in the channels and weaken the batteries’ performance.
Also, making the materials typically requires harsh chemicals and leaves a good deal of hazardous waste.
At Twente, researchers tested a material called nickel niobate, made up of nickel, oxygen, and niobium, a rare earth metal found mainly in Brazil.
The material has a regular and open structure to its nanopore channels, allowing a battery’s electrolyte to flow quickly and freely during charging, and in lab tests reduced charging times by tenfold—from 20 minutes to two, for example.
The developers see initial applications for electric trucks and other hard-duty vehicles needing quick charges to meet a schedule.
TRENDPOST: Within five years, new battery and charging cable designs (“New Cable Could Slash EV Charge Times,” 23 Nov 2021) will reduce EV charge times at public stations to the same as it takes to pump a tankful of gas.