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US scientists make a super-powerful battery for e-vehicles

Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a new battery technology that is set to double the range of e-vehicles and drastically reduce charging times.

01 Sep. 2018
HMI-ID08-058ds_EDougherty_MichiganEngineering
US scientists make a super-powerful battery for e-vehicles (Photo: Evan Dougherty, Michigan Engineering)

The researchers speak confidently of a potential game changer – in other words, an idea that can give an entire industry a new direction. The secret lies in a ceramic electrolyte with which lithium metal batteries are said to achieve twice the capacity of lithium ion batteries. According to the scientists, the ceramic layer stabilizes the surfaces of the two electrodes and separates them from one another. As the solid ceramic is used in place of a liquid, the battery cannot catch fire, and the layer prevents the battery power deteriorating as time goes by.

As if that were not enough, the new technology should also drastically reduce charging times. According to the University of Michigan, a lithium metal battery that normally takes 20 to 50 hours to charge up completely can be brought back up to full power in less than three hours with the new technology. Although lithium ion batteries can be charged up quickly, it “inevitably leads to them dying”. With lithium metal batteries, on the other hand, there is no obvious decline in output.

Lithium ion batteries are currently fitted in all standard electric vehicles, reports “Auto Zeitung” . Although their cost has fallen by over 80% in the last ten years, they still cannot compete with combustion engines as far as range is concerned. The findings of the researchers in Michigan are not only of interest to the auto industry, however: the charging interval for a smartphone can also be extended considerably with the technology.