The biggest impediment to wide acceptance of electric vehicles and their successfully competing against conventional IC engine vehicles is the charging time. Presently, even the most advanced systems in the market like Tesla’s take more than 30 minutes for a partial charge. A full charge needs several hours.
For a Li-ion battery with a range of 320 km; if we want to charge it in 10 minutes; we will need to pump in 400 KiloWatt of power. This is a huge amount of energy pushed into the battery. In current batteries, this risks lithium plating, which is formation of metallic Li around the anodes. This will drastically reduce the life of the battery.
However, scientists have realised that if the temperature of the battery is quickly raised to 60 degree C during charging and then cooled, the risk of Li plating can be minimised and life of the battery can be increased several fold. What is heating does is, it limits the battery’s exposure to elevated charge temperature, thus generating a very long cycle life; as per senior author Chao-Yang Wang, a mechanical engineer at The Pennsylvania State University .
Now the major issue being faced is that scaling up the design and bringing it to market may take a decade. Also manufacturers will have to ensure that rapidly raising the temperature is safe and stable, and doesn’t lead to explosions given the phenomenal amount of energy that is being transferred.