German outfit Mahle has teamed-up with battery-maker Allotrope Energy to put forward a new fast-charging solution for electric vehicles. The duo’s novel lithium-carbon battery borrows elements from the world of supercapacitors to deliver charge times that are on par with the re-fueling process for internal combustion-powered vehicles and offers a couple of other environmental benefits while it’s at it.
“Range anxiety is usually quoted as the main barrier to electric vehicle adoption, but if the battery could be recharged in the same time, it takes to re-fuel a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle, much of that worry goes away,” says Dr Mike Bassett, Mahle Powertrain’s Head of Research.
Mahle, who earlier this year revealed an inexpensive electric vehicle motor that uses no magnets, teamed-up with Allotrope Energy to turn this sort of thinking to electric mopeds, pointing to the increasing use of gasoline-powered variants in cities, in response to the on-demand economy. The idea was to develop an inexpensive, small capacity lithium-carbon battery that would keep these electric vehicles on the move, with minimal stoppage time required for recharging.
Their solution is made-up from high-rate anode seen in traditional lithium-ion batteries, which mixes with the sort of cathode seen in a supercapacitor, separated by an organic electrolyte. This is claimed to bring the tremendous power density & charging capabilities supercapacitors offer, combined with superior energy density of lithium batteries, with resulting lithium-carbon cell offering fast-charging rates of up to 20 kW.
According to analysis carried-out on a simulated food service with a 25 km (15-mile) radius, using a conventional 500 Wh battery would require electric mopeds to pull-over mid-shift & spend half-hour recharging. For the sake of comparison, team says its novel battery pack could recharge these vehicles in 90 seconds because of its ultra-fast charging rate.
In addition, team’s lithium-carbon battery uses no rare-earth metals & entirely recyclable and is also claimed to not be vulnerable to thermal runaway events which will cause batteries to overheat & be destroyed.
“With the rise of the on-demand economy, there is been a rapid increase in the use of petrol-powered mopeds for urban deliveries like take-away meals and this has contributed to air-quality issues in our cities,” says Bassett. “Decarbonizing these deliveries has so far proved difficult without maintaining a stock of expensive interchangeable batteries or switching to a larger, heavier electric vehicle with increased energy-consumption.”
Bassett presented the breakthrough at Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle show in UK in the week.
The research published on Mahle.