Skeleton Technologies and the German Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe have teamed up to design the SuperBattery for electric vehicles. A graphene supercapacitor that promises a charging time of 15 seconds for lithium batteries.
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Discovered fifteen years ago, graphene is the future of our batteries, both ecologically and in terms of performance. The engineers of Skeleton Technologies in Estonia and those of the German Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe will not say the opposite since they have just created the “SuperBattery” which they describe as revolutionary.
It must be said that they announce a charging time of only 15 seconds for this graphene battery designed for electric vehicles! Renault Zoe, Nissa Leaf and other Telsa owners will appreciate it since charging time remains one of the big weak points of electric cars. Even if great progress has been made, filling up with gasoline or diesel still takes five minutes compared to several hours for an electric car.
Concretely, this “SuperBattery” combines the best of classic lithium-ion with ultracapacitor cells in graphene. Thus, lithium batteries remain the best for storing a lot of energy but, on the other hand, their power density remains low, and they discharge and recharge slowly. Conversely, supercapacitors offer high power density by storing charge statically. The result: this type of battery charges and discharges much faster, and without degrading after hundreds of thousands of cycles. Disadvantage: to get the same capacity as a lithium-ion battery, it takes a lot more space.
The solution is therefore to create a hybrid battery with a mixture of lithium and supercapacitors. “We are not on a miracle solution or a complete and autonomous solution”, warns Taavi Madiberk, founder and CEO of Skeleton, to our colleagues at Sifted. “You won’t have long-distance electric vehicles that run solely on our technology. But combining a lithium-ion battery with a SuperBattery can reduce the charging time, as well as the overall cost and weight of the battery system in the car. We are a cornerstone in the development of a much more efficient system. “
To prove the reliability of its supercapacitors and demonstrate that it is less dangerous than Lithium-ion, Skeleton is putting “crash tests” online. © Skeleton
As for the 15 seconds announced, it can be a recharging in operation, while the car is moving via a braking energy recovery system, or quite simply an “express” recharge in the station. A kind of booster that would allow you to take advantage of the car for a short trip. Provided you have the right equipment, of course.
One thing is certain, the concept is attractive and the future of the electric car depends on optimizing charging time. We already know that Tesla has acquired the ultracapacitor company Maxwell Technologies to optimize the batteries of its cars, and Skeleton announces the signing of a pre-contract of one billion euros with a major automaker for bring the technology to market within three years.
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