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New electric car battery is cheap, charges quickly and makes any vehicle ‘drive like a Porsche’, engineers say

The i 18/01/2021 Madeleine Cuff
a car parked on the side of a road: Electric cars usually take at least 20-25 minutes to get to an 80 per cent charge. (Photo: AP Photo/David Zalubowski) © Provided by The i Electric cars usually take at least 20-25 minutes to get to an 80 per cent charge. (Photo: AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Scientists have invented a new type of electric vehicle battery that is cheap, recharges in just 10 minutes, and will make any car “drive like a Porsche”.  

The lithium-ion phosphate batteries have a self-heating core to speed up charging and recharging. They can run for 250 miles on a single charge and recharge in just 10 minutes, the team from Penn State university in the US claims.  

a close up of a toy car: The battery would be cheap and safe, the engineers promise (Photo: Chao-Yang Wang’s lab, Penn State) © Provided by The i The battery would be cheap and safe, the engineers promise (Photo: Chao-Yang Wang’s lab, Penn State)

Perhaps best of all, an electric car fitted with this new type of battery could reach nought to sixty miles per hour in under three seconds and “drive like a Porsche”, according to the study’s lead author Professor Chao-Yang Wang. 

Self-heating technology

The secret to the battery’s fast charging abilities, power and long range is down to its ability to quickly heat up to 60C for charging and discharging power, then cooling down quickly when it is not in use. 

That means it can charge rapidly and produce a lot of power when in use, the researchers say.

This self-heating method also promises cost savings; cobalt, and expensive and rare material used in conventional lithium ion batteries, is not needed.

In fact, an EV fitted with this type of battery should cost about the same as a conventional petrol or diesel car, Prof Wang said. Electric cars are still more expensive than petrol or diesel models, although costs are coming down as battery technology improves.

“This is how we are going to change the environment and not contribute to just the luxury cars,” said Wang. “Let everyone afford electric vehicles.” 

The team’s findings are published this week in the journal Nature Energy 

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