A factory has produced batteries which are capable of fully charging to capacity within five minutes for the first time.
This development marks a significant leap towards electric cars becoming just as quick to charge as filling up a traditional car.
The Israeli company StoreDot developed the new lithium-ion batteries, and Chinese manufacturer Eve Energy produced the batteries on one of its standard production lines.
StoreDot’s “extreme fast-charging” technology has already been seen in drones, phones, and scooters, but its new batch of 1,000 batteries will now showcase its tech to car manufacturers.
StoreDot has raised $130m in funding to date, with Daimler, Samsung, BP, and TDK having all invested. The company was also named a Bloomberg New Energy Finance Pioneer last year.
Even though the batteries can reach a full charge within five minutes, it requires a much more powerful charger than are currently used.
Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot, said: “The number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is no longer cost, it is range anxiety.
“You’re either afraid that you’re going to get stuck on the highway or you’re going to need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the experience of the driver is exactly like fuelling [a petrol car], this whole anxiety goes away.
“A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible. But we are not releasing a lab prototype, we are releasing engineering samples from a mass production line. This demonstrates it is feasible and it’s commercially ready.”
Prof Chao-Yang Wang, at the Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center at Pennsylvania State University, said: “I think such fast-charging batteries will be available to the mass market in three years.
“They will not be more expensive; in fact, they allow automakers to downsize the onboard battery while still eliminating range anxiety, thereby dramatically cutting down the vehicle battery cost.”
Anna Tomaszewska, of Imperial College London, was more sceptical about how quickly these new extreme fast-charging batteries will be rolled out to the mass market.
“I think technologies [like StoreDot’s] could start entering the market in the next five years or so,” said Tomaszewska. “However, since they will be more difficult and expensive to manufacture, we’re likely to initially only see them in niche markets that are highly performance-driven and not as price-sensitive as electric vehicles.”
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