Fast battery charging technology: the future of EV’s?

Part of an ongoing series of posts about electric cars and alternative fuels

The Economist ran an article about research being done at the University of Illinois on new technology to create batteries that can be recharged in a very short period of time.  Recharge time, along with total energy storage capacity, are the two main limitations to electric vehicles (EV) because together they create “range anxiety”.  The owner of a plug-in electric vehicle can only drive as far as his car’s range before plugging in for at least several hours.  This is fundamentally different from the gas station model we’re all used to, which allows drivers to go as far as they wish, stopping only for 5-10 minutes to fill their tank.

In theory, this early research might make it possible to build a commercial battery that could be recharged in just a few minutes.

This tremendous advantage would come at a cost, of course.  These quick-charging batteries would be an estimated 20-30% more expensive than batteries manufactured by current techniques.  (And batteries are already the most expensive part of an EV!)

Something to watch for the future.

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