We all know that one of the biggest obstacles to electric car adoption is the long, often overnight recharge time. But Nissan claims that they've created a new charging system that'll fill up your car (Nissan would undoubtedly prefer to say "your Leaf") in only ten minutes--not much different than a regular trip to the Earth-killing pump.
AFP reports that Nissan, working with Japan's Kansai University, has come up with a breakthrough in electric charging tech. Details are scarce at best--Nissan isn't clarifying anything to reporters--but here's what's been reported: "The breakthrough reportedly came by changing the electrode inside a capacitor from carbon to tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide to improve power."
There's a lot missing from that, obviously. Something may have gotten fouled up in translation--we suspect they meant "battery" rather than "capacitor"--but what it sounds like is that Nissan has come up with a new battery tech that uses tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide rather than carbon. The general bottleneck in reducing charging time isn't in the charger or the amount of power that can be pumped into batteries, but rather in the frailty of the batteries themselves--the cells can't handle too much current at once. So a new battery technology that can cope with a very high amount of energy without degradation could conceivable allow that kind of super-fast charging.
But with details this scant, and a note that the tech could take "a decade" to make its way to consumers, we're not going to claim this is any kind of magic pill for the electric car industry. Still, it certainly seems to be positive movement towards faster charging--there's no doubt that a ten-minute charge time would do an awful lot to endear electric cars to consumers.
[via NY Daily News]
I will just hope it was one of those accidental Eureka moments were someone intuitively just put some supposedly incompatible stuff together and to everyone's surprise it worked.
I work with solid gel rechargeable batteries all the time. If the batteries are in a box in the heated sun these batteries sometimes last 1 year. When they are also drain to bottom often, they will only last 300 deep cycles. When they are exposed to excessive cold, this wears them out prematurely.
The batteries average life is 3 years. Occasionally, I will come across a battery that will last 6 years or longer. This usually happens, when the local environment air temperature is 72f, stable and the power in the building is stable too.
The batteries in the Mars rover are a wonderful achievement of harsh environment on batteries. I do not believe the average consumer could afford the cost of these batteries.
I really hope Nissan has develop something mainstream, that will last a long time, be user friendly, low cost.
A regular 110v 20amp outlet has the capability of charging up just about anything in very little time. The trick is getting batteries to accept a charge at this rate without simply burning off the charge moments later.
If nissan has truly developed a capacitance system that will retain such a quick charge while maintaining a decent lifespan, it is a ground breaking achievement. It would not only make it Electric vehicles truly viable for long distance, but eliminate the need for the horridly inefficient proprietary charge stations.
You would not have to bombard the vehicle with insane voltages and amps hoping that at least 30% of it will stick. Any electric vehicle would potentially be able to charge in a matter of minutes using a standard 110v20a outlet.
The engine photo in this article pretty!
I suspect that they did mean Capacitor. Either the charger has a large cap or the Japan market car has a cap or both. I rather doubt the batteries used could use any of those elements.
Sadly the earths supply of tungsten is almost gone so the idea stinks.
@nighthawkich: The Leaf currently has a 24 kWh battery pack -- it's safe to assume that the new tech wouldn't have less capacity, because that would shorten the range.
A 20 amp 110 Volt outlet can deliver no more than 2.2 kiloWatts. At that rate, it would take over 10 hours to charge the Leaf. Even a 240 Volt outlet would take hours. It's likely the 10 minute charge would be performed by a Level 3 charger -- one located at a commercial charging station, not a residence.
Actually, current world reserves are projected to be sufficient for nearly 150 years. If tungesten prices rise, so will reserves (that's been the case for all commodities, throughout all history). While this tech would increase demand for tungsten, it wouldn't increase consumption by nearly as much. You overlooked recycling. It's an absolute certainty that nearly all EV battery packs, and capacitors will be recycled -- either for economic reasons (the stuff is worth money), or because of government regulations.
Ok, so you say tungsten is projected to sufficiently last us 150 years. But, why did the aliens come to earth 10,000 years ago and mine gold. There are extra properties of gold they absolutely had to have as a necessity. So what’s up with that? Oh, I have said too much..., forget I was here...
@sprite: The aliens probably used tungsten electrodes in your implants. That might explain your interests in discussions about tungsten.
This has been my thought for quite some time; obviously I don't know the real physics so I'm not looking into designing it or anything, but it seems to me that cars could be charged quickly with a simple capacitor-to capacitor discharge and then the battery could be charged slowly from the on-board capacitor while the car was driving. I'm sure that if I looked back at my High School physics books I could find something wrong with my logic, but for now it seems fine.
There is nothing wrong with your idea and you are not the first one to be thinking along these lines. Batteries and capacitors work together in electronic devices all the time. The flash in a camera is one example. The battery can not deliver energy fast enough to make the flash work by itself…but a capacitor can. So the battery charges the capacitor and then the energy to work the flash is drawn from the capacitor.
The system you described works in the reverse of this. The capacitor is charged quickly from the electrical grid and then transfers its charge to the battery at a rate that will not damage the battery. Also the capacitor will be running the car at this time. Of course there will be losses due to resistance…there always is.
So why not use a capacitor to power the car? Compared to batteries, capacitors are not efficient at storing energy. They can deliver it quickly or also charge quickly in comparison to a battery…but do not do well storing the energy.
It is now a problem for the material scientists and the electrical engineers. The two main challenges are:
1) Produce the right materials so that the energy density of a capacitor will allow it to be the right size and weight so that a charging system like this will function practically.
2) Produce a power distribution system that will allow the capacitor to charge the battery and also run the car while it is transferring its charge to the battery.
There are other details involved also but when the aforementioned two are solved it will be a major step forward to making the system practical.
Fencerdave, that would be a car with 2 sets of batteries, one to charge the dead pack while driving.
ummm.. why? the car already has all the feasible amount and weight and cost of batteries filling space in the car... where is the space, weight allowance and cost going to come from to allow a 2nd battery pack to be fitted that's equal to the first without a trailer being added.. which they already sell.
in addition cars like the leaf will have there batteries completely worn out (with a mixed use of regular and fast charging) of 3-5 years. with the cost of the batteries at that time being more than the depreciated cost of the car itself, then by insurance industry standards the car will be "a write off" .. so now add the cost of this 2nd pack after it wears out too.
actually i'm not sure why anyone would ever buy an electric vehicle.
the rate of discharge and estimated range left is always variable, so figuring out where you'll be when you'll have to wait 13hrs to charge it back up is impossible, plus the cost per mile/km is comparable to a frugal diesel. assuming you live in the USA or other country where the electricity still comes from coal or other fossil fuel burning CO2 and greenhouse gas & smog causing powerplants
.. well, it's just as silly as driving a motorcycle because "it's better for the environment" .. which of course it's not! .a bike is actually 300%-20,000% worse for the environment.
F bomb the electric vehicle, it died out 100 years ago for a reason.. Hydrogen fuel cell is the ONLY future of the electric vehicle.. without Hydrogen, it's still an expensive and environmentally waist of time.
besides, in all of these electric cars, where do all the rare metals and components come from? all around the world... last i checked the ocean going container ships that it all made the trip on before the transport truck, trains and other stuff that the gas/diesel version didn't need for production will add up to massive amounts of damage to the environment.. more than it's worth too.
the nissan leaf = pissing into the wind onto and intersection of three different electric fences!
you're all better off just getting your old gas powered car tuned up. it will also provide a boost to your local economy.
in my previous post i wrote a battery + capacitor = 2 batteries... don't get technical with me.. a capacitor IS a battery by every definition of the word... the "capacitor" would actually have to also be a bank of capacitors to provide a sufficient charge to the main battery pack.. and actually quite large... thus creating the 2 battery pack situation described.
Hey guys! Look up the lightning car company they already HAVE the technology not only to charge their car in 10 min but also have it lasts over 10,000 charge cycles! at a rage of 225 miles and 0-100 in under 5 seconds! This is old news... The US is sooooo far behind other electric car companys its not even funny...
@dcrosenthal: Too bad the company that makes their battery is based in Reno, NV [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altairnano]. Plus, last time a check Nissan was Japanese; what a douche.
You know, in any new exotic futuristic technology, you always always have to have a
YOU JUST GOTTA!
All good points
If we are talking trade-offs here, I would gladly sacrifice half of my car's range (assuming that no additional batteries were added, and the existing banks were just divided up between capacitor and battery) in order to shrink the charge time from overninight to a few minutes.
Regarding battery life I agree that this seems to be a major consideration with the future of Electric cars in general, but that is as matsci1 said a challenge for the materials engineers to ponder.
"the USA or other country where the electricity still comes from coal or other fossil fuel burning CO2 and greenhouse gas & smog causing powerplants"... oh, no you didn't...
While we are far from being free from carbon-producing energy, 30% of the USA electrical power grid is currently running on renewable or nuclear power, and the number is only growing.
Driving a motorcycle can indeed be good for the environment. Yes, it's been a bit over-hyped, as they are aerodynamically garbage for the most part, but when the choice is between a person driving a motorcycle or a big SUV to work every day, there's really no discussion to be had. In a community that isn't "comfortable" with carpools, motorcycles can be an environmental blessing.
The death of the Electric Vehicle 100 years ago had two reasons, my friend. Firstly was the price of oil, which was plummeting as the resource was being found and drilled all over the place. Secondly was the fact that the United States Electrical infrastructure was nowhere near advanced enough to handle the demands of electric cars, and would not get even close until my man Nikola Tesla got his AC wires up everywhere.
Nowadays I think we can agree that the price of oil isn't going to be plummeting any time soon (or ever), and that thanks to Tesla it will be small potatoes to connect the Automobile industry to the electric grid.
I am a huge fan of Hydrogen Fuel-cells myself, and will probably run a car off of H2 before I get an electric car. That said, none of your points tend to hold any water whatsoever. You point out that Electricity still has to come from a powerplant, but unless we start flying trips to the sun we are still going to have to make Hydrogen for ourselves (that was a joke. I thought it was funny). Hydrogen has to come from somewhere, which on the larger scale will mean the hydrolysis of water into H2 and O2, a process which involves huge voltages of electricity and considerable heat loss. Not exactly the most efficient solution either.
Sometimes I have to wonder if even the most intelligent of people believe that electricity springs forth from the head of Zeus fully formed and armed for battle.
It's generated somewhere, and that process has its own "earth-killing" properties. All a "clean" electric car does is push the damage back upstream a level or two.
We are too smart to keep doing things the way we are. We are too smart to think that some of the things we are trying are much better.
We are smart enough to find an alternative that depends neither on inefficient combustion of organic compounds or the disruption of streams of water or air. Fission is messy and we have proven that we are too lazy to be careful with it.
As long as big oil controls the world's purse strings, we won't get far.
The objective is to propel cars with power created in the most sustainable way possible. Whilst small diesels might currently be the best, they are not a long-term answer as they are still not efficient enough and the particulate traps can be a major source of cost and failure if the vehicle is not run long enough to get hot and burn out the trapped material. Any on-board power creator is unlikely to be as efficient as a power station can be. That's why we are trying to create the power elsewhere and then store it on the vehicle for use. Batteries, hydrogen, compressed air for example. For some applications they are already the best solutions but these, admittedly, are still in the minority. However, as the technology improves and fossil fuel gets more expensive, more and more people will be able to switch to vehicles of this type. Frankly, I'd be delighted TODAY to have a low-tech lead-acid golf cart to go to the shops or to the rail station. Unfortunately most countries treat such a vehicle just like any motor vehicle and push it's price up with licensing and safety regulations inappropriate to such a slow simple device.
fencerdave: your cockiness is amazing. It's a good thing your handle does not indicate your true name, since your friends would never let you live it down when EVs swallow the entire market.
There is not a single car maker that is not spending big bucks to develop hybrid and/ or electric vehicles for the near market, so either they are totally blind to the realities of battery-powered vehicles, or you are-- there are no other possibilities, and if you actually followed developments in EV R & D, you'd know that there are dozens of competing technologies vying to reap the rewards once the key technoligies are developed.
Just this morning, for instance, a team from Northwest University announced the development of a battery using sheets of graphene to increase battery capacity (referred to as "energy density) by an order of magnitude... that means that if such a battery were used in a Tesla, it could drive more than 500 miles on a single charge, yet the battery would still be only 20% of its current size. It also could be quick-charged in just a few minutes without damage.
They are confident it can be put on the market soon... even if it can't, IBM, MIT, and other big, serious players are developing battery tech they expect to do the same thing-- increase battery capacity by an order of magnitude. So- called air batteries, in which the cathode is eliminated and ions from the air serve to repace it, is one of the hopefuls; battery plates coated with carbon nanotubes or silicon nanowires are another.
It is never a good idea to be so smug when declaring something cannot be done. You can never win a Nobel or reap admiration and respect by doing so... there is no up side to being a naysayer. All that can happen is that you can eventually embarrass yourself for your lack of vision when someone that's a lot smarter than you are finds a solution to these very thorny problems. We all admire such people... even when they do NOT succeed. We admire them for their determination and creativity.
Please, stop trying to tell us what can't be done. We don't wanna hear it.
My bad... I addressed my last post to fencerdave... I intended to address it to ptv83. My apologies, fencerdave!
So many great comments on this and related posts that I don't know where to start.
Hydrogen is a joke, it takes more energy to make than you get out of it and then there are the transportation problems, storage, etc.
People are really worried about their rights and their cars being monitored and remotely immobilized? I'm fairly certain any GM with Onstar can be immobilized and really anything with GPS can probably be monitored.
Now as far as charging goes, I'm really interested in the new sub-hour charging technologies on the rise, but why doesn't anyone come up with a removable battery. I could see gas stations offering a battery exchange service just like current propane exchange. That way the packs would all be charged up and ready to go. Just a few minutes to swap it out. The service could include testing and replacing damaged/failed cells and even upgrading when technology makes improvements. Obviously the battery and car would need to be designed to do this quickly, maybe one panel to remove underneath the car and a powered lift to remove the battery, but I think it's possible, just keep a small battery in the car to save settings, car data, etc.
In the future I see wireless charging as a possibility. We already have short distance wireless charging and Tesla did it about 100 years ago. Why not run a grid of wireless towers along major highways and you can charge while driving down them.
The source of all of this electricity can easily come from NEW, safer, cleaner, nuclear power. The waste can be treated and made safe faster than ever, either that or keep using coal, wind, solar, until it can't keep up with the demand.
With the bottleneck being that the charge time is limited by a battery cell's max current it can handle when charging, would it be possible to arrange a cell of capacitors along side the batteries that would essentially take the fast charge capacitors are capable of and then perform a controlled discharge of sorts into the batteries, charging the batteries at their appropriate voltage intake capacity?
Update: I didn't fully read the previous posts and it sounds like this has already been discussed. I'm still interested, however, if anyone cares to shed light on the subject.