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Experimental Batteries Charge In Minutes

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-i-want-it-now dept.

Power 335

Zothecula writes "Of all the criticisms of electric vehicles, probably the most commonly-heard is that their batteries take too long to recharge – after all, limited range wouldn't be such a big deal if the cars could be juiced up while out and about, in just a few minutes. Well, while no one is promising anything, new batteries developed at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign do indeed look like they might be a step very much in the right direction. They are said to offer all the advantages of capacitors and batteries, in one unit."

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335 comments

Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573158)

Considering the hassle I had just getting a 220-volt outlet to power my dryer installed at my house, I'd hate to think what the electrician is going to say when I tell him I want an outlet that can deliver enough power to drive my car 100 miles--and deliver it in just a few minutes. Poor bastard is going to have a heart attack.

I apologize in advance for my lack of electrical knowledge. But would anything resembling modern standard household wiring even be able to handle that?

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573198)

I apologize in advance for my lack of electrical knowledge. But would anything resembling modern standard household wiring even be able to handle that?

Nothing resembling modern standard industrial wiring will handle that. On the other hand, you could have a flywheel or another type of battery bank (a very broad, shallow one, if you catch my drift - lots of cells) in your house that charged only at night or from altpower and which charged your car whenever you liked. Sounds expensive to me, too. Flywheels are probably the logical choice. You bury them to prevent runaways in the case of failure. You float them on maglev bearings to make them efficient. The power company should be putting them underneath substations but there's room for them in a residential context as well. It's being done now but not enough IMO (and MO is worth every penny you've paid...)

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (3, Funny)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573298)

Don't you realise your crackpot flywheel plan could slow down the planet's rotation until we all FRY!?!

Think of the children.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573408)

Sure, but then we just keep them going until the earth starts spinning in the opposite direction. Yeah, the sun will rise in the west and set in the east, but it's better than frying, and it won't really make that much of a difference anyway.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573472)

Wise man say: what goes around, comes around. The point is to give that angular momentum back. Nobody will be the wiser, except the guys at the naval observatory. When was the last time anyone thought of *them*, I ask you. First we take away their clubhouse so Dick Cheney can live there (well, OK, Nelson Rockefeller was the first), then we play bloody hell with the ephemeris.

Niggerdicks! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573834)

Wise man say: what goes around, comes around. The point is to give that angular momentum back. Nobody will be the wiser, except the guys at the naval observatory. When was the last time anyone thought of *them*, I ask you. First we take away their clubhouse so Dick Cheney can live there (well, OK, Nelson Rockefeller was the first), then we play bloody hell with the ephemeris.

Give us more inane babble about bullshit please. And then smoke another one.

Re:Niggerdicks! (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574142)

Give us more inane babble about bullshit please. And then smoke another one.

Is it really bullshit? I mean, maybe Nelson Rockefeller WAS the first.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573482)

Don't you realise your crackpot flywheel plan could slow down the planet's rotation until we all FRY!?!

Duh, everyone knows that you can solve that problem with counter-rotating flywheels.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573754)

Duh, everyone knows that you can solve that problem with counter-rotating flywheels.

Oh no, I've already had enough of this "Contras will fix everything" philosophy.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573542)

We estimated [cam.ac.uk] that a car driven 100 km uses about 80 kWh of energy.

80kWh / 5-10 minutes ~= 1000-500kW.

Hmm. That's roughly the power draw of a small electric passenger train (e.g. an old subway train).

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573722)

So 80kWh/100km at $0.10/kWh = $8/100km, which is MORE than what I pay for gas in my car.

In addition gas is heavily taxed, they claim it's for roads, so maybe we should add a road tax onto our electricity rates.

I think I'll just keep burning oil thank you very much.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (3, Interesting)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573760)

We estimated [cam.ac.uk] that a car driven 100 km uses about 80 kWh of energy.

80kWh / 5-10 minutes ~= 1000-500kW.

Hmm. That's roughly the power draw of a small electric passenger train (e.g. an old subway train).

Rescaling, the figures become 0.5 to 1.0 MW. That's a highly non-trivial amount of power to transfer electrically (ignoring the massive electromagnetic fields that level of power transfer creates). Not something that's going to be done in the home.

Recall, a consumer-grade hair drier is in the 1.0 to 1.5 kW range. We're talking about operating about a thousand of those at the same time for 5-10 minutes. Personally, I don't want to be anywhere near that. Moreover, even if it's wildly efficient at 99% transfer to the batteries, that's 0.01 x 1 MW = 10 KW of loss that needs to be dissipated. I am not familiar with materials found in the home that can provide safe, reliable, tamper-proof thermal isolation from grasping a cable / connector package that is glowing hot.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573856)

Fast charging is nice... It's not practical for home EV charging (the Leaf's 240v home charger requires a 30 amp circuit, and expecting more in a home is unreasonable), but it can be useful for fueling stations and consumer electronics (filling a 60Wh laptop battery in 3 minutes is doable on a standard 120V AC circuit).

A far more useful thing would be improved capacity, though. Charging your car's batteries in five minutes sounds nice, but if you're driving a long distance and have to stop every hour to charge the battery for five minutes, it's not very practical. Battery capacity is also the primary limiting factor in the performance of mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574156)

You could trickle charge an ultracapacitor in your garage all day then just dump the accumulated electrons into your car in a couple of minutes, no 30 amps required.

Re: "stop every hour"

I'm pretty sure even today's electric cars can drive for a lot longer then that....

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573876)

We estimated [cam.ac.uk] that a car driven 100 km uses about 80 kWh of energy.

80kWh / 5-10 minutes ~= 1000-500kW.

Hmm. That's roughly the power draw of a small electric passenger train (e.g. an old subway train).

100 km in 5 minutes implies 1200 kph which is roughly the speed of sound at sealevel.

There have been supersonic cars, and they require well over a mere 1000 horsepower or so.

1000 HP will barely achieve 250 MPH.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573902)

Err, you were probably writing about the input side not the output side.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573998)

That isn't suggesting that these cars are going 100km in 5 minutes. It's suggesting that recharging in 5-10 minutes the power required to go 100km is a massive amount of power use.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574110)

We estimated [cam.ac.uk] that a car driven 100 km uses about 80 kWh of energy.

80kWh / 5-10 minutes ~= 1000-500kW.

Hmm. That's roughly the power draw of a small electric passenger train (e.g. an old subway train).

100 km in 5 minutes implies 1200 kph which is roughly the speed of sound at sealevel.

("km/h" is preferred, "kph" is confusing.)

I was suggesting that in order to drive 100km someone might wait 5-10 minutes for the battery to charge, so the power needed is 500-1000kW (roughly many hundreds of electric room heaters or kettles, or a single old electric subway train -- the latter obviously using special cables etc, and supporting only a few trains at once in a small area).

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574028)

Their estimate is 80 kWh for just 62.1 mile range which is not enough for Americans. They like to see 300 miles between fuel stops, or ~380 kWh.

~4 million watt draw for 5-6 minute fuel stop.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574186)

62.1 miles is actually more convenient for most car usage - you don't ever have to go out of your way to a gas station.

The Chevy volt has a gas engine which takes over if you do more than that.

The PROBLEM with electric cars today isn't really the range, it's the price.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574196)

Their estimate is 80 kWh for just 62.1 mile range which is not enough for Americans. They like to see 300 miles between fuel stops, or ~380 kWh.

~4 million watt draw for 5-6 minute fuel stop.

Yeah, very impractical in the US, outside of local driving in population centers.

I drove to visit my sister last month, who lives about 900 miles away. Needing to stop for 5 minutes every 60 miles would be absolutely maddening. It would add over an hour to the trip just for recharges. Plus there are places where it's more than 60 miles between consecutive gas stations, so we would need recharge stations to be significantly more frequent than gas stations.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574230)

Their estimate is 80 kWh for just 62.1 mile range which is not enough for Americans. They like to see 300 miles between fuel stops, or ~380 kWh.

~4 million watt draw for 5-6 minute fuel stop.

I picked that only as a minimum. If fossil fuel continues to increase in price Americans might be forced to change, or else pay much more for the convenience.

Many people already wait 5-6 minutes for the next bus or train to take them 5-10-20km, so if we can get the power to the recharging place I don't think this would be unworkable.

Electrons over a wire (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574174)

For some reason, technologists always overestimate potential throughput.

It might be a good idea never to underestimate the energy transfer capacity of a hose pumping gasoline (into a station wagon, in my case).

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573774)

>>>in your house that charged only at night or from altpower and which charged your car whenever you liked

The most likely answer is that electric cars, like gasoline cars today, would only be fast-chargeable at fueling stations. Just as you need specialized services to hold the gasoline (and government-regulated to make sure it does not blow up), you need specialized services that can handle dumping 90 kilowatt-hours into a car in just 5 minutes.

Let's see. 900,000 watts == IV == 3700 amps at 240 volts, or 90 amps at 10,000 volts.

Not exactly safe. I think I'd rather convert from gasoline to hydrogen-fueled cars, and avoid the electric ones.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574226)

Not exactly safe. I think I'd rather convert from gasoline to hydrogen-fueled cars, and avoid the electric ones.

Okay, multi-account troll boy, there's nothing inherently safe about hydrogen (although it may arguably be better than gasoline) and electricity is a typical intermediate step for making hydrogen in the BEST case. Virtually all hydrogen burned in the US is produced from natural gas at some expense in both money and energy, which is why it is expensive even though we breathe it constantly.

Just as you need specialized services to hold the gasoline (and government-regulated to make sure it does not blow up),

I don't need anything special to handle diesel fuel, though. False dichotomy, sucker.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573870)

For the high-discharge, full-discharge circumstances, a flywheel apparently works well - it would be a good way to charge these new batteries, quickly. My understanding is that a slow, persistent draw cannot be maintained on a flywheel, though, so they aren't yet usable in say, homes and cars. For context, IIRC, one place they are used well, are in mobile cranes (un)loading ships/trains/trucks. A dropping container spins the flywheel up, and the full amount of energy in the flywheel can be consumed to assist in lifting the next container.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573226)

I think the idea is probably that you'd charge (or swap out your battery) at somewhere analogous to a petrol station, rather than your home.

However that means those places will need a *lot* of power.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (3, Funny)

Nameisyoung007 (1009935) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573300)

Dr. Emmett Brown: [running out of the room] 1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573434)

Marty McFly: What the hell is a gigawatt?

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

burisch_research (1095299) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573546)

Yeah actually doc brown said "jiggawatts". Marty's got a point, what the hell IS a jiggawatt?

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573656)

I think that "jigga" is the prefix used to indicate a one followed by umpteen zeros.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573748)

Should have called it googolwatts then.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574180)

Yeah actually doc brown said "jiggawatts". Marty's got a point, what the hell IS a jiggawatt?

It's a racist description of an African-American watt.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573394)

Maybe each gas station could build an adjacent nuclear reactor.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574310)

I think it'd just be so much better to actually have a nuclear powered car! you won't have to refuel for the life of the car! think of how much oil independence we'll have! laugh at all those ppl with their gasoline fueling stations. with this nuclear powered car, there's no flammable fluids, ZERO co2 emissions! and it doesn't have 50 pounds of potentially explosive lithium batteries! or dangerous lead and acid batteries! totally CLEAN energy!

*end sarcasm*

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574422)

Adds a whole new element of danger to a fender bender. I like it.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573562)

Well, let's suppose the batteries are cheap enough to put in your car. Clearly they can handle a lot of current, in fact I'll bet they can discharge at high rates as well as charge. So what you do is you install a similar battery in your house and trickle charge it. At the "gas station" you'd have a massive flywheel that stores energy off the grid. That's how the Plasma Fusion Center at MIT does it. Some of the experiments they do would knock out the power grid if you tried the get the current spike they require directly from the power lines.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

landoltjp (676315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574138)

Good idea. It would allow energy to be stored up from 'off peak', one would hope, to charge the car up when needed.

I'm just thinking out loud here; no complaints, just some observations. The risk here that I see would be that every house has this battery "tank" of potential energy. I wonder how safe that would be? Granted, 50-80 years ago the houses where I lived all had oil tanks outside, and I can't see them being all that safe either.

As for the gas stations, their current potential energy is stored in gas tanks underground. Still a risk there, but I imagine it's been mitigated by safety designs of some sort. And they would be less likely to be impact-related safety concerns. Do you imagine they'd have a flywheel above ground, or below? Would heat buildup / dissipation be a concern?

And someone else (a post below here, I think) made a good point; if you're at home with your car, odds are you're not in need of a quick charge, or a 440Volt power pull from every house. Leave 110/220v at home, and the 440 stuff at gas (energy?) stations.

Sure (1, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573282)

Stretch a cable between two lamp posts, run another cable to the clock tower and then recharge only during thunderstorms.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (2)

jkeelsnc (1102563) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573392)

The answer is NO, definitely not. 220V would not be good for rapid charging. But why do you need to recharge at home that fast in the first place? Now, out at rapid charging stations where you can stop and recharge in a few minutes they will likely have 440V circuits that can deliver that kind of current. If you have a 200 mile battery you will probably be able to recharge at home in 4 hours (on 220V) anyway which should be enough after you get home from work to charge up for the next day. If you are at a place where you need a quick charge then stop at the quick charge station. Adding the kind of infrastructure it would take to have 440V circuits in every house plus substations and distribution network for every house to handle that much power for rapid charging is unreasonable except for at targeted locations that have quick charge stations. Even then I like the idea of the other poster of using fly wheel storage systems (where a flywheel spins on magnetic bearings) for quick charge stations. A station could have have several of the flywheel systems that are running at all times (large ones). So that as people charge quickly it slows down the flywheels a bit but then when no one is charging (maybe over night or middle of the day etc) then the flywheels speed up again and are ready for more quick charging at the station. Also it would allow for even higher voltages and currents than a 440V infrastructure can provide and make it less expensive to provide a power connection to a station.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574050)

You know what else they could do? use paragraphs....

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

billrp (1530055) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573446)

Modest electric cars need about 10 kW per hour. So that means if you want to charge your battery in 10 minutes, you'll need a 60 kW pump. At 220 volts that's about 300 amps. With four way parallel charging that's about 75 amps each, which requires heavy-duty cables and connectors but it's doable.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

chocapix (1595613) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573828)

I think you mean your hypothetical car needs 10kW in average to move about, which means that (assuming 100% efficiency) 60kW is enough if you're okay charging your car for 10 minutes every hour you drive it.

Taking a real life example, the Tesla Roadster has a 53kWh battery pack, so a full charge in 10 minutes is roughly 300kW. Probably a piece of cake in a distant enough future, but right now, I think the plugs you'd need would be too heavy to be practical.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573840)

Yeah, it's "doable" except for the fact that when you work at those kinds of power the leads have to be huge and the connections perfect and well greased or things go boom. Oh and charging your car for one hours drivetime isn't what most people would consider reasonable so more like you'd need 300A x4 at 480V which gets into crispy end user territory.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

eggled (1135799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573848)

kW per hour is a meaningless metric. If they're right in saying that electric cars consume 80 kWh per 100 miles, your 60 kW "pump" will charge the car in about 80 minutes. You're off by an order of magnitude.

Assuming a 200 mile battery (minimum useful in my opinion), we're talking about 160 kWh dumped in over the course of 10 minutes, is 960 kW - or about a megawatt. At 220V, that's about 4500 Amps, and normal home service is usually not more than 200 amps. So, if you got 20 of your closest neighbors together, and wired all their houses into one giant charging station (and shut down all appliances, computers, lights, heaters, and stoves), you could charge your car in 10 minutes.

Not seeing this working with our current power grid...

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574314)

I can't make sense of your units: 10 kW per hour? I think you mean 10kW-hours (i.e. capacity to provide 10 kW for 1 hour). But while 10kW-hours might be good enough for a plug in hybrid (i.e. Chevy Volt, whose battery pack is about this size) you will need about five times that (like a Tesla's) for a pure electric with reasonable range. That means you need a 300 kVA supply to charge in 10 mins.

I agree with other posters that this is probably not practical at home (but also unnecessary) while it is slightly more practical in an industrial setting with 440V 3 phase power (e.g. at a "filling" station.) But even with that infrastructure it would be challenging to hit 5 or even 10 minutes.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573486)

Just run normal wiring to a capacitor with some VERY heavy connectors, the charging station would need time in between vehicles to charge up but for a home station this would be fine.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573576)

I apologize in advance for my lack of electrical knowledge. But would anything resembling modern standard household wiring even be able to handle that?

Older houses are often wired for 60 Amps, and they don't stand a chance.

Some newer houses with big AC units go as high as 200 Amps. More typical I think is 100 Amps. The Nissan Leaf has a 24 kW-h pack. To "quick charge" that in an hour with 100% efficiency would require 24kW (duh). At 240 V that is 24kW / 240V = 100 Amps. So a newish house could do it if it had a separate 100 A 240V feed just for charging the car. I figure that would set you back about $3000, so it's not out of the question. :)

More likely, you'd pull up to a charging station that has a big industrial feed at a higher voltage so that you don't need a copper wire the size of your arm.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573950)

> So a newish house could do it if it had a separate 100 A 240V feed just for charging the car.

You are assuming a 1-hour charge time. If you cut the charge time down to 5 minutes, you multiply the current by 12.

Add in a 50% charging efficnency, and you are looking at 2400 Amps.

That's something a charging station on the side of the hihgway could manage, but that a home could not. OTOH, I will probably plug in for a lot more than 5 minutes at my home.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

ion++ (134665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574160)

What if your home had some sort of device to temporarily store the needed energy? Like a battery or a flywheel? This device could then slowly be charged up from the electrical power network until next time you needed 2400 Amps in a few seconds.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Kunnis (756642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573956)

200A services are actually common where there is electric central heat and electric water heating. It has nothing to do with "New big AC units" They are actually much more efficent then 20 year old ones. I replaced my Mid-80's Outdoor unit with a modern high-efficency unit, and the breaker went from a 50A to a 20A. That's a much lower expected power useage.

And a new service is more like $1500 to have one of the big-chain companies do it, last time I checked.

100A wire is smaller then my pinky, but it costs a few dollars per foot (and you want a 220 plug?, that means you need a black, red and white wire at that size, plus a smaller ground wire)

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574188)

Better efficiency on your new unit, and it's quite likely someone actually did a heat-loss calculation and calculated the proper size.

30 years ago, if you really needed 60,000 btu, they'd take a wild guess that you really need a 100,000 and tack on a 20% fudge factor, giving you a 120,000.. or the homeowner would complain their old unit wasn't cooling the house effectively, and then upgrade from there.. or just replace with the same unit you had before.

With modern houses it's much easier to figure out the most efficient size.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574006)

My old house is wired for 200 amps. But it was also built at a time when there was no easy way to get gas for the appliances in that area so it was designed to handle two electric water heaters, electric dryer, electric stove, electric oven, electric heaters in the bathrooms, etc. And, back then, everyone was expecting to get a nuclear reactor in their basement within the next decade so they wanted to be ready to have heater vs. AC battles to use up all that extra power.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574234)

Have a second battery at home that slow charges all the time and use it to quick charge your car daily

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574406)

[quote]W..w..W - Willy Waterloo washes Warren Wiggins who is washing Waldo Woo.[/quote]

What?

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (2)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573636)

We worked all this out the last time a battery article came up. You can slow-charge at home, or fast charge at filling stations. Filling stations will install banks of capacitors that recharge in, say, 15-30 minutes from a dedicated high-power line. You drive in, dump a capacitor into your car, and go. It will take a good bit of work to get those power drops at every gas station, though, and capacitors are expensive. But then you don't have to worry about filling the fuel tanks or anything.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

dakkon1024 (691790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574386)

Can you really slow charge at home? I mean honestly even if just 5% of the population was charging cars at home during a hot summer night I think it might overload our production/delievery capacity. The underlying expense to route that much additional power is going to be rather extreem. Not saying we shouldn't, but it's really not in place at all at the moment.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

Kunnis (756642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573732)

I googled for what the Chevy Volt takes for a recharger (It's just what jumped to mind, I've seen too many ads for it) A statement on in this page http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?6307-HOW-TO-ORDER-YOUR-HOME-CHARGING-STATION [gm-volt.com] says it's a 16 Amp, 220V plug. A normal "dryer" plug is a 50Amp, 220v plug. So if you had the ablity to use something as large as a dryer plug, It'd let your car recharge about 3x as fast. But to do that, you also need a larger electrical service in some cases. Some older houses don't have a very large service, and so you'd end up causing problems (either your main breaker tripping, or worse a fire) if you tried running your dryer, your household heater (or A/C) and charging your car at the same time.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573938)

A typical 100A household supply will in 5 minutes give you the equivalent energy of 171ml of Diesel. To get the equivalent of the 10l/min or so my local petrol station pump manages, you are going to need a 30kA supply, and you would need about 200 standard electric cables to carry it.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574008)

If you're at home, it's probably going to be assumed you're going to be staying there a while, so can go with the trickle overnight charge approach.

When I want to recharge in minutes is when I'm 100 miles up the road. Commercial units could have the expensive fast charge equipment installed.

Re:Wow, what will THAT outlet look like? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574280)

The answer is a standad, "slow" overnight charger at home and a "fast charge" fuel station.
If you're rich, you can always buy extra cells to store the energy for fast charge, but normally you plug the car in for the night at home and "fast charge" only if you go more than 100km/day.

And... (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573270)

Six months from now no one will remember these, along with all the other "revolutions" in battery tech.

Me? Cynical? Not nearly enough, actually.

Re:And... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573504)

And how, Mr Smartypants are you going to generate the electricity? Support for nuclear energy all but died on 3-11-2011. Final nail in the coffin for sure. Most assuredly, we will now depend on fossil fuels more than ever. Solar and Wind is such a drop in the bucket, it's a joke.

Re:And... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573654)

Final nail in the coffin? If anything, I now have more faith in nuclear power. Previously, I didn't even consider what would happen if one were hit by an earthquake, but I think they've done pretty well compared to, for an obvious example, Chernobyl. Future designs will only make things even safer.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573758)

The media (mostly American) injects FUD for hype and ratings. The uninformed public gets scared shitless, and thus the politicians fall in line. Politically, nuclear is DEAD!

Re:And... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574100)

Perhaps in the US, but given the greed and incompetence of our politicians it was essentially dead years ago. The governor of WA had to refuse further shipments of nuclear waste to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation until the feds actually cleaned it up. As it was much of the waste was sitting in leaking containers and leaching into the ground water.

We have largely been stuck with it since the Manhattan project back in the 40s as it was the source of the first full scale plutonium reactor in the world.

Re:And... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573900)

An huge earthquake, then a huge tsunami. And hell, past designs (just more recent than the damage reactors) would make things safer.

But don't fool yourself. Just because you have more confidence in nuclear power, you better believe most people aren't going to see it that way. The people that already think Three Mile Island proves nuclear is too dangerous are going to see this -- which is indeed worse than TMI -- as ultra-super-undeniable proof that nuclear power will kill us all.

All because -- ONCE AGAIN -- we (human kind) are too cheap and short-sighted to do something expensive today that will avoid a vastly higher expense in the future. Oh sure this old reactor design requires active coolant pumping at all times, but between the reactor itself and the backup diesel generators, we've got that covered! Sure it'd be a disaster if something somehow knocked out all power, like a giant earthquake or a tsunami or something, but what are the odds of that? Fixing the "problem" would cost too much!

Re:And... (1)

rmstar (114746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574130)

More than the earthquake, the danger lies in the cynical and greedy nature of the corporations running these things.

Whether nuclear energy can be safe when done well (and it has to be done really well, it seems, for it to be safe) is besides the point, because it is just not done well in reality, there is no reason to trust those on whom it would depend to do it well to get their act together, and there is no political basis anymore to endow corrupt corporations with such a level of responsibility. Tepco (which ran fukushima) has admitted to falsification of data from the very same reactors that are causing trouble. How this kind of thing is going to play out in the kind of libertarian dystopia the US is trying to convert into - I don't want to even imagine.

Re:And... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574172)

Yeah, by "future designs" I guess I meant "future builds". Thankfully in places like Japan they seem to have their heads screwed on slightly better, and so they might be able to lead by example in rebuilding things with the newer convection-based cooling design.

Many people without a sense of perspective will be against it, but thankfully not all places are inhabited by easily panicked morons. It was amazing to read stories and watch videos of how calmly everyone took things in Japan. Compared to the rest of what has just happened to their country, a few cases of radiation poisoning are going to seem like nothing to them.

Re:And... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574026)

Solar and Wind is such a drop in the bucket, it's a joke.

But the hippies told me it would work, dammit!

We should see practical applications (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573632)

in 5 to 7 years from now!!

Anything more than 3 years out is a complete WAG.

Re:And... (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573672)

It's incremental progress. Right now nanomaterials for power applications are a hot topic.

But I'd give Braun more chance than some at actually turning up something that'll make it into use.

(Disclaimer: I'm biased. He's an affiliate professor in the deparment I work in.)

Re:And... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574058)

But I'd give Braun more chance

I'm sorry, but I just don't trust former Nazis.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574322)

Sorry, I don't trust current idiots.

problem isn't so much power per se (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573404)

The problem is peak demand on the supply side. Users expectations for getting fueled up are for a quick stop at the 'fuel' station. Your home garage won't need a dedicated 500Amp service if you are willing to charge all night.

For quick electric fill-ups at home though, some kind of intermediate storage that _can_ be charged all night will be needed to avoid massive peak demands on the power company.

Re:problem isn't so much power per se (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573558)

Surely the approach should be to keep a float of charged batteries at the "gas station". Pull up there, your flat battery is removed, and a full one is inserted in its place. Your flat battery goes to the back of the charging queue. The charging queue absorbs the peaks in demand.

Re:problem isn't so much power per se (1)

rmstar (114746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573976)

Nice idea. Now what happens when you get a bad battery? Or do you think all those batteries are going to the same quality, capacity, and form factor?

You are probably saying we will all share the batteries. I see more than just one issue with that.

Re:problem isn't so much power per se (1)

andrewbaldwin (442273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573996)

I've mentioned this before -- you don't need a rapid recharge at service stations if cars were fitted with standard sized batteries - just swap out your flat ones for fully charged units and let the garage charge them up overnight (or whenever power is lower cost in your vicinity).

In effect run your car on giant versions of an AA cell. If the form factor were suitable (with a convenient handle, relatively low weight and idiot-proof one-way-only fitting) then this could be run as a self service system -- customer drops their old battery in a dispenser, swipes their card and a new one pops out -- the dispenser could even route the flat battery to the charger units.

Suppliers can differentiate their products on the basis of capacity and max discharge rates.

Of course you'd either have to mandate standard battery sizes [through an independent organisation] or face each manufacturer making batteries with different form factors (so they can charge more money for them and use patents to stifle competition**) and then waiting for years for market forces to reduce variation.

This development could help the service stations reduce costs if it truly is possible to charge up more batteries in a shorter time.

** Cynical ? me? -- I've just been reading Slashdot for too long

available power source, no expiration, no recharge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573494)

just one of these toaster sized magnetic devices can power a city. good thing we prefer the oil based subscription energy/pollution (pans out?) plan? when/where do WE get one?

did they mention; pollution free, lasts forever? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35573680)

yes, those features are mentioned/present, but not to us.

Aluminum-air (3, Interesting)

McGregorMortis (536146) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573500)

That's one of the interesting properties of the aluminum-air battery. The aluminum plates can be replaced quickly and easily. Just pop out the spent plate, drop in a new one, and off you go.

The reaction products (aluminum oxide) can also be captured and recycled into new aluminum.

A nifty idea, but there are assorted problems that have to be solved before it can be practical.

In minutes? (1)

MikeDaSpike (1196169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573578)

My phone's battery charges in seconds! ~7200 seconds.

Re:In minutes? (1)

human spam filter (994463) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574178)

On a more serious note, what does "in a few minutes" even mean? You can already charge commercially available lithium polymer batteries in about 15 minutes (4C charge rate). So the actual number of minutes would be nice to know.

'Easy' fix for power (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573580)

With rapid charge / discharge, it seems to me that residential installation of these batteries under the control of the power company would be ideal - when the grid is under used, your battery takes up the slack and draws juice to charge. When the grid is over used, your system can either supply local power (like quick charging your car) or supply power back into the local grid.

This would smooth out the power demand at the central generating stations.

Of course, I think we should also have community thorium reactors (and thought so before the recent publicity from the Chinese, BTW). Decentralize the power generation, increase redundancy in the grid.

I thought the main problems were elsewhere (1)

NtwoO (517588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573742)

It might be caused by a bias in what I read, but I thought the electric vehicle had 2 other more serious problems. The first problem was the resources required in their production. Many of the materials used in EV is causing shortages in these resources. The second problem is that the electricity network is not designed to handle the extra distribution involved in a mass scale up of EVs. Batteries that charge quicker puts more load on the network when for instance people get home on a work day.

Natural Gas Vehicles (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573890)

I would like to see vehilces manufactaured that run on natural gas. It burns clean with virtually no emissions, and is pretty ubiquitous (some places even have natural gas filling stations - my town of 30K people has one)

Extra points if they would make them plugin hybrids.

Most forklifts run on natural gas or propane and are safe to use indoors because of the lack of harmful emissions.

I know its another natural resource but I think it's a much cleaner alternative to gasoline. The electric grid isn't there yet in terms of rapid charging and the batteries aren't there yet in terms of range for people who go on trips longer than 150km.

So far Tesla's model S is looking pretty promising in terms of the range and all that but is out of reach for most consumers. And there is still the problem of longer trips, if I want to drive 1800km in two days it's just not going to happen. With natural gas it could be possible provided I plan out all of my filling stops but that is up to me.

Just put inductors in the roads (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#35573984)

To really get decent performance from electric cars putting induction chargers in the road would be best because the car could drive along and pick up power as it goes and when stopped probably charge its battery just as is proposed for new wireless charging stations.

And before anyone says thing of the disruption - well think of the disruption when new water mains, gas pipes, cable TV is being installed. The induction points would only need to be on main roads and highways , not down every little back street where the cars could run on battery power alone.

Yes it would cost a lot but how much does oil exploration - and cleanup - cost now?

Re:Just put inductors in the roads (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574356)

You forgot the step where you added the magic pixie dust to power the induction points. Power still has to come from somewhere, and induction power transfer has a huge loss. Electric cars are only good for the environment when you are more efficient at making and transmitting the power then a car engine. As a large part of the world electricity is still generated by fossil fuels. Also, oil is not just used for gas, it's also used to make tons and tons of other products.

Also, how do you charge the people for charging? Make it free, or fixed fee and people will abuse it.

And cutting loops in roads make the roads wear out faster. Also the induction loops will break because roads expand and contract due to heat/cold and cars breaking on them.

It would cause problems to transfer enough power (1)

maxm (20632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574064)

The required current would be really high.

But I guess that you could just have an extra battery pack that is charged untill it is full, and then charge the car from that. That would also make solar and wind power better alternatives, as you could store power in cheap periods.

Interchangeable batteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35574306)

Maybe this's been discussed elsewhere already, but wouldn't the best solution with current technology be to use intechangeable batteries?

Imagine having battery modules in your car, that can be easily removed/exchanged. 1 module would be enough to power a scooter, 10 modules for a small car, 20 modules for a sporty SUV. Instead of charging the batteries you'd just drive to your local battery station and pay them to exchange the modules in your car which would take only a few minutes. The battery station would then take the old ones, charge/equalize them as quickly as the curent technology allows and give them to someone else. The battery stations could be virtually anywhere since the electricity distribution is kinda solved already with power lines running almost everywhere.

As the battery technology evolves, you'd get better (more capacity and power output) batteries gradually, the old ones would be discarded or used elsewhere. As long as the voltage remains the same, I can't see why car manufacturers couldn't agree on one format of the battery module and go this way.

Sure, the price for changing the battery module would be higher than charging it yourself (cost of extra batteries the stations would need to keep, maintenance costs, etc.) and you'd probably have to pay more for new batteries with higher capacity, but it's still the most convenient solution to date I can think of.

New approach needed (1)

low profile (943206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35574364)

Why are we not looking at making a standard for a swappable battery? You could then pull into the equivalent of the gas station and swap your near dead battery for a freshly charged one. This fixes 2 problems. 1. range anxiety, I don't want to get stuck waiting 2-4 hours for a charge while I am doing some errands on my way home from work. with a battery swap this would only take 5 minutes 2. sticker shock in a few years when the batteries need replaced and their cost are not being subsidized by the government. Since I would be swapping batteries, battery replacement would be part of the "gas station's" business model.
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