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At the Speed of a Gas Fill-Up: Battery Advance to Allow Rapid EV Charging?

Charging stations would require power boost, but technology for quick charges exists

1 min read
At the Speed of a Gas Fill-Up: Battery Advance to Allow Rapid EV Charging?

An advance in battery technology could help push past one of the persistent criticisms of electric vehicles: the extended time needed to charge the battery.

Researchers at the University of Illinois published a paper this week in Nature Nanotechnology on a change to the cathode of a battery that allows for rapid charging and discharging without a loss of capacity. They describe it in their abstract as follows:

We demonstrate very large battery charge and discharge rates with minimal capacity loss by using cathodes made from a self-assembled three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoarchitecture consisting of an electrolytically active material sandwiched between rapid ion and electron transport pathways.

The 3-D structure could eventually allow an EV to charge in the amount of time it takes to fill a tank with gas. Senior author Paul Braun said in a story published at ClimateWire and Scientific American that batteries in the lab can be charged in "tens of seconds."

The lithium-ion batteries used in todays EVs generally take hours to charge fully. For example, Nissan says that charging the Leaf (battery pack pictured above) at home will take about seven hours; Chevrolet says the Volt can recharge in about four hours. Charging stations, where existing batteries can be refilled in shorter periods, will need to provide more power if the new battery type's rapid-charge abilities are to be used fully.

(Image via Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz)

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-range radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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