And it's cleaner than most batteries too.
When people talk about electric cars and range anxiety, what they're really concerned about nowadays isn't how far a car will go. After all, most EVs can do a few hundred miles on a single charge, and most drivers don't use a full tank of gas in a traditional car every single day anyway. What worries the average person is how long it takes to recharge a vehicle. The Lucid Air is a car that offers phenomenal charging times, and the rest of the industry is constantly aiming to make this process quicker too. To that end, Mahle Powertrain and Allotrope Energy have now unveiled a new battery technology that aims to recharge an EV in the same time it would take to refuel a vehicle.
Mahle Powertrain's head of research, Dr. Mike Bassett, says, "With the rise of the on-demand economy, there's been a rapid increase in the use of petrol-powered mopeds for urban deliveries such as takeaway meals, and this has contributed to air quality issues in our cities." Thus, the company "has considered how an electric moped could be used as an urban delivery vehicle powered by an inexpensive small capacity lithium-carbon battery that could be recharged between stops in as little as 90 seconds."
This is achieved partially through Allotrope Energy's lithium-carbon tech that is said to combine the benefits of supercapacitors and traditional lithium-ion batteries. This combo promises a cell that can be recharged quickly while retaining good energy density with none of the thermal degradation effects experienced by traditional lithium-ion batteries.
The knock-on bonus effect is that the battery cell remains stable even at high temperatures, allowing for high current delivery and fast recharging without the need for complex cooling or battery management systems. The capacitor-style cathode also enables a lifetime of "over 100,000 cycles," far more than that of conventional batteries. Furthermore, the lack of rare-earth materials means that the cell is more recyclable and safer for the environment.
Mahle and Allotrope and now conducting a study to determine if this invention works as expected. Using a city-based e-moped, the team is targeting a range of 25 kilometers or 15.5 miles. Normally, even using a fast charger for such a vehicle could mean charge times of more than half an hour and would require a replacement battery every year or two.
Should the study prove the team's expectations, the little scooter could be recharged at 20 kW in just 90 seconds. The next goal will then be to explore different battery sizes for use in larger vehicles, and with lower weight and costs compared to traditional battery tech, this could be a gamechanger.