Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    New Breakthrough in Lithium-Ion Battery Technology Could Revolutionize Electric Vehicle Charging

    Charging time and limited access to fast chargers have long been major concerns for electric vehicle (EV) buyers. However, a recent development by battery scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) might hold the solution. They have successfully created a new lithium-ion battery that can recharge up to 80 percent in just 10 minutes and maintain this fast charging ability for 1500 cycles.

    In simple terms, battery charge and discharge occur when ions move between the positive and negative electrodes through an electrolyte. ORNL’s team has made significant progress by formulating new lithium salts with carbonate solvents to create an electrolyte that enhances ion flow over time and has the capacity to handle the heat generated during rapid charging.

    According to Zhijia Du from ORNL, “We found this new electrolyte formulation basically triples the Department of Energy’s target for the lifespan of an extreme-fast-charging battery.” The team achieved this feat by using a high-performance electrolyte composed of lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (LiFSI), lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6), and carbonates in two amp hour pouch cells. The electrolyte displayed remarkable stability during rapid charging, allowing for a charging rate of 6C, which equates to one-sixth of an hour or 10 minutes.

    Although this breakthrough is promising, there are still several unanswered questions. The cost of incorporating this new chemistry into EV batteries remains unknown, and whether or not it can be scaled up for widespread use is uncertain. It is worth mentioning that recent findings have shown that fast charging does not significantly impact battery degradation, dispelling previous concerns.

    While ORNL’s breakthrough is notable, other automakers and technology companies are also progressing in battery development. Toyota, for instance, recently announced that their future EVs will utilize three new liquid electrolyte battery technologies and one solid-state battery. One of their lithium-ion batteries promises a range of 497 miles and can charge from 10 to 80 percent within just 20 minutes.

    Companies such as Samsung, Gotion, and CATL are also making significant strides in battery technology. It is an exciting time for the EV industry as breakthroughs like these will propel the adoption of electric vehicles by addressing key concerns of potential buyers.

    Sources: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tesla, Toyota