New technology could charge cars in minutes not hours

New technology could charge cars in minutes not hours
A new way of charging electric cars could help reduce the time it takes to minutes rather than hours.

The company Augmented Optics has revealed a new polymer material that can charge a car as fast as filling it up with fuel.

The technology, which was developed in conjunction with the University of Surrey and University of Bristol, could end up making some batteries redundant and totally transform the electric vehicle market.

The high energy density super-capacitors could also be applied to mobile technology, reducing their charging times to seconds.

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Currently, it takes around 6 to 8 hours for an electric vehicle to charge.

The new technology would not only reduce that to minutes, but also mean electric cars could travel greater distances.

Instead of recharging every couple of stops, this technology could mean cars and buses only need to recharge every 20 to 30 stops and that will only take a few minutes.

Augmented Optics claims this could increase the distance an electric car can travel significantly.

Super-capacitors store energy using electrodes and electrolytes. They both charge and deliver energy quickly, unlike conventional batteries which do so in a slower, more sustained way.

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The issue with this technology is that super-capacitors have poor energy density per kilogramme – around a twentieth of existing battery technology. This means they can’t hold as much charge as standard batteries.

Buses in China use super-capacitor batteries and have to recharge every three miles or so.

The new super-capacitors have what is called ‘ultra-capacity’. This means they can hold a similar amount of charge as a lithium-ion battery, but with faster charge times and lower production costs.

Scientists behind the development hope a test car could be constructed as early as next year, should a prototype battery be successfully made.

The new material is also suitable for mass production and can be moulded into different shapes, making it more versatile in design than a standard battery stack.

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