Researchers led by professor Harold Kung at Northwestern University have just developed a breakthrough battery technology that could allow electric cars to run 10 times longer and recharge 10 times quicker. The new lithium ion batteries use several techniques to pack more power capacity into batteries while vastly improving both their charge speed and their ability to hold a charge over time. The result is a battery that could be ready for use in 3 to 5 years that could keep your cell phone charged for a week and recharge in 15 minutes, or give your electric car a 500-mile range with 10-minute charging. We already know Nissan is set to release a quick-charger that powers up current EVs in 10 minutes, so we’re excited to see how these two breakthrough technologies will interact.

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These are game-changing numbers, and it seems that the technology isn’t different enough from current batteries to make its success all that improbable. You can read a full explanation of the new batteries here, but basically the researchers arranged the current materials in a lithium ion battery differently to maximize their potential. They sandwiched clusters of silicon between graphene sheets to stabilize it and maximize charge capacity, which allows for a greater number of lithium ions in the electrode. Then the researchers created tiny holes in the sheets to give the lithium ions a “shortcut” to the anode, which gives the batteries their quick-charging capabilities.

Harold Kung, the professor of chemical and biological engineering who published the results in the journal Advanced Energy Materials, said that “[e]ven after 150 charges, which would be one year or more of operation, the battery is still five times more effective than lithium-ion batteries on the market today.” We can’t wait to see this technology come to market along with all the other recent battery breakthroughs.

+ Northwestern University

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