A new lithium ion battery developed in Korea could make those long waiting times for an electric car to charge become history. A team of researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) claim they can build a battery that can charge in less than a minute, 30 to 120 times faster than a classic Li-Ion battery.
The bigger the battery (in volume), the longer it takes to charge it – that’s the sad rule of thumb of batteries these days. One solution would be to split the big battery into smaller piles – which has been done so far, but it’s still not enough.
What the Korean researchers have done was to dip the cathode material (lithium manganese oxide – LMO) in a solution containing graphite. After carbonizing the graphite-soaked LMO, the graphite turned into a dense network of conductive traces that ran throughout the cathode, acting like blood vessels and allowing the entire battery to charge at the same time, thus greatly speeding up the recharge process, without the energy density or life cycle being affected.
The new battery needs to be packaged no differently than a normal lithium ion battery, which makes the new technology easily adaptable to already existing production lines. That, in turn, shouldn’t make the new Korean LMO batteries much more expensive, but a hell lot faster to charge.
It remains to be seen when and if this technology will actually become mainstream, or at least having some big car manufacturer like Ford or GM test it on the roads.