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Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the greased-lightning dept.

Power 227

Zothecula (1870348) writes "At Microsoft's Think Next symposium in Tel Aviv, Israeli startup StoreDot has demonstrated the prototype of a nanodot-based smartphone battery it claims can fully charge in just under 30 seconds. With the company having plans for mass production, this technology could change the way we interact with portable electronics, and perhaps even help realize the dream of a fast-charging electric car."

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Very bulky. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684333)

I think I'll wait for some miniaturisation...

Re:Very bulky. (0)

barlevg (2111272) | about 8 months ago | (#46684447)

Bulky for a cell phone, but perhaps not so much for a laptop?

Re:Very bulky. (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46684493)

Don't forget to count into the bulkiness the size of the inevitable mandatory fire extinguisher.

Re:Very bulky. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684963)

And maybe more than fire. If a device can charge that fast, how do you stop it from exploding if it discharges all at once?

Re:Very bulky. (5, Funny)

werewolf1031 (869837) | about 8 months ago | (#46684529)

I hear consumer electronics have this funny way of getting smaller (and cheaper) as time goes by. But that's just a rumor.

Re:Very bulky. (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46685371)

Nah, that's just an illusion, you've simply grown up. I remember my brother's dumbbells seemed awfully large to me at one time when I was a kid.

Interesting, but they admit low-current capability (4, Informative)

digsbo (1292334) | about 8 months ago | (#46684403)

TFA states that they would need to substantially improve current capabilities for a car-size battery. Not that it doesn't make it cool, but at the same time, it's a bit presumptive to assume this will be the basis of car batteries given existing capabilities. Good luck to them, though!

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (3, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | about 8 months ago | (#46684715)

It's irrelevant if they do this anyway, because if you had a 100kWh car battery that could charge in 5 minutes, the voltage and current requirements would be so enormous to make it impractical, because you'd have to deliver 1.2MW to charge the battery in that time. At 11000 volts you'd still require a current of about 110 amps, so not only very high current, but very high voltage.

One of Britain's largest single generating plants is the Sizewell B PWR nuclear generator, rated at 1200MW. It would take just 1000 such cars all wanting to charge at once to completely use all the capacity of this entire large nuclear power station. How many cars are currently filling up with petrol in Suffolk (the county where SIzewell B is situated) right at this second? Probably well over 1000.

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (1, Funny)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#46684829)

you'd have to deliver 1.2MW to charge the battery in that time

As I read that quickly, I got excited and then realized I was reading it wrong and you did not state that you'd need to deliver 1.21 gigawatts.

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46685119)

you'd have to deliver 1.2MW to charge the battery in that time.

Megawatt industrial motors and pumps are common. A home charger could not do deliver this much power, but a charging station along a freeway could. If you are at home, it is unlikely that you need a super fast charge anyway.

How many cars are currently filling up with petrol in Suffolk

Wrong comparison. How many of those cars need to be filled in 30 seconds? As we switch to electric vehicles, >95% of the charging will be done over several hours while parked at home or work. Those chargers will also have enough intelligence to suspend charging if there is a sudden price spike because of unexpected demand from the charging stations out by the freeway.

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685231)

Well, utility generation would have to increase if everyone switched over to electric cars regardless of the method of charging. If, as you say, Suffolk county has 1000 motorists filling up all day long (assume 5 min each), then it may be that by the time everyone is driving electric cars they'll need another power plant. Whether you have a different car charging every 5 min for 8 hours, or all the cars charging at the same time for 8 hours it's still the same amount of power. That kind of constant demand is probably less of a problem than they might expect to first encounter with a few sporadic rapid chargers though. The first electric charge stations may require some kind of battery bank to level out usage spikes. But by the time you're charging a constant stream of electric cars, the battery bank gets you less and less and you just need a bigger pipe from the utility.

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46685261)

It's irrelevant if they do this anyway, because if you had a 100kWh car battery that could charge in 5 minutes, the voltage and current requirements would be so enormous to make it impractical, because you'd have to deliver 1.2MW to charge the battery in that time. At 11000 volts you'd still require a current of about 110 amps, so not only very high current, but very high voltage.

Don't forget that if the process is even 10% inefficient then that's a 120kW heater underneath your car. Winding the windows down while you're charging probably won't be enough cooling to keep the passengers alive.

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 8 months ago | (#46685599)

That's not horrible... just 1200 lightbulbs. You could protect the occupants with some space shuttle tiles or any ablative impregnated carbon shielding you might have sitting around the house.

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46685441)

Most people don't run their electric cars down to zero though, they top up at home and at work. The only time someone would want to do a full charge in five minutes is when making a long journey when they absolutely can't afford to stop for say 30 or 50 minutes and must get 100% capacity in order to drive for another four hours solid.

Realistically the current 30 minutes for 180 miles range or 50 minutes for a full 300 mile range charge that Tesla offers is more than adequate for most people. As EVs get more popular you will start to see car parks and motorway services being fitted with solar panels and charging points in every space so people can top up. There will still be fast charge points, but most people won't need them and will prefer a slower but free/low cost charge. I imagine most pay car parks will offer free solar energy since they get paid to generate it, and in the long run when that stops it will still be basically free after the relatively tiny (compared to building a large car park) installation cost.

Close but not there yet (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46685733)

Realistically the current 30 minutes for 180 miles range or 50 minutes for a full 300 mile range charge that Tesla offers is more than adequate for most people.

I think it is close but they probably need to cut the 30 minute time in half before people will be ok with it. 30 minutes is a pretty long time to stand around your car waiting for it to charge. It's fine if you are stopping for a long break but I don't really need to stop for a half hour or more every 3 hours of driving. My current car can go from Detroit to Cleveland and about halfway back on a single tank and if I need to stop it is a 5-10 minute deal. A Telsa could usually make the trip one way (barely) but if I needed to stop for fuel I'd add a half hour minimum to the trip. Not bad but not quite competitive yet either.

50 minutes for a full 300 mile range charge that Tesla offers

How close you'll get to the maximum claimed range depends on how you are driving and the weather. With sloppy cold weather and fast driving you might only see 200 miles of range. I spoke with a Tesla owner and he indicated that driving like crazy in cold sloppy weather with everything running (heater etc) you might see a range of around 180 miles on their biggest battery pack (which he had).

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 8 months ago | (#46685523)

How many cars are currently filling up with petrol in Suffolk (the county where SIzewell B is situated) right at this second?

Yes, this is the point that all the electric car makers either miss or ignore.

Petrol has a massive energy density (party due to being able to use air as a "free" oxidiser). In simple energy terms it "contains" about 33M Joules per litre - or 2GJ in a standard tankful. Try to transfer 2GJ of energy into an electric car's battery in the time it takes to fill your tank and you realise just how convenient a liquid fuel is.

Re:Interesting, but they admit low-current capabil (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about 8 months ago | (#46685565)

That's not entirely correct. Most people will still charge at home during the night. Super-fast charging is probably going to be used only for long-distance travel.

Phones yeah (4, Informative)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 8 months ago | (#46684423)

I'm not sure charge speed is so important for cars, I'd imagine that reducing the battery weight and size would be more important.. having twice or three times the capacity in the same space would be much more important than charging fast, especially considering how much power you'd have to put through a cable/connector to charge EV batteries in under an hour (as an example)..

Re:Phones yeah (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 8 months ago | (#46684497)

Very fast charge (on the order of 1-2 mins for current battery sizes) would make "gas stations" viable for electric cars. It'd immediately remove the current big stumbling block, which is that once your capacity is depleted you need to wait for a few hours to recharge. Bigger capacity would be nice, but it'd just delay the issue. Fast recharge would let current gas stations convert to electric, allowing us to reuse existing infrastructure and easing the transition between gas and electric.

Re:Phones yeah (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46684617)

Going to need superconducting charge cables. My mom sure isn't going to be wrestling 00 gauge charge cables into a connector.

They aren't looking at battery swaps because charge time is an easy problem to solve. Even if the batteries were done, there would be technical and safety challenges.

Re:Phones yeah (5, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 8 months ago | (#46684887)

Going to need superconducting charge cables. My mom sure isn't going to be wrestling 00 gauge charge cables into a connector.

>

No problem, we'll just 3D print em'. 3D printing will solve all our problems.

For that matter, why don't we just 3D print a fully charged battery?

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Prune (557140) | about 8 months ago | (#46685331)

My favorite post of the week. Please mod parent up.

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685359)

3D printing solves more problems than your smart mouth does.

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685731)

> 3D printing will solve all our problems.

As long as you can 3D print graphene, it will. That's the other current do-everything technology. When carbon nanotubes didn't pan out, they shouted, "Hey! Look at this graphene! It'll do everything carbon nanotubes were s'posed to do, but it'll do it 100 times better!"

Re:Phones yeah (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46684919)

They aren't looking at charge swaps because the infrastructure cost is enormous. Better Place tried it in Israel (much smaller country with more political incentive for EV use) and went bankrupt because people really didn't need swaps as much as they thought they would, and because they could only get one model of car to use the compatible battery.

It's hard enough getting people to roll out the standard charging stations we have now and keeping them all operational, can you imagine getting 100x that investment before anyone even buys the cars? Now think about covering a country as big as the US with gas-station-sized underground robotic battery swapping facilities and keeping them all stocked and operational.

And since you will only have as many customers as you have buyers of compatible cars, to make the network viable you need lots of models using the same battery. We only barely managed to standardize the stupid plug, can you seriously imagine them agreeing on a fundamental part of their cars' chassis?

Battery swapping is a logistical nightmare. Sure, we could do it, but we could also build a base on the moon and rid the world of famine if we really wanted to, but we won't. Fixed 200-mile batteries and 10- or 20-minute superchargers are the most realistic way to go. (Tesla's superchargers work just fine without 00 gauge cables.)

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685765)

And that's the same reason why running horseless coaches on light naphtas will never catch on. The economics just don't justify doing anything but dumping them in rivers at night, while profitable selling off the heavy tar and grease that are the only really economically meaningful products from petroleum.

Besides, horseless coaches and tractors run much more economically on peanut and other vegetable oils and still spirits - which are produced right on the farm, and of which there are recurrent excesses of harvest and supply.

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685799)

Oh, and kerosene, of course - the most important product. Despite it's necessarily being destined to never supass the level of playing second-fiddle to the huge and much more powerful whale-oil lobby.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46685205)

Going to need superconducting charge cables. My mom sure isn't going to be wrestling 00 gauge charge cables into a connector.

There are already prototype robotic gas pumps. The hardest part is opening the gas cap on all the different models. If the electric connector on cars is standardized, then robotic electric charging stations should be easy. So your mom can sit in her air-conditioned car and listen to the radio, without touching any cables.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Prune (557140) | about 8 months ago | (#46685321)

00 gauge isn't anywhere close to cutting it, even if you're running this at a few kV. GP poster simply didn't think this through when rushing to post.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46685491)

Charge time is solved for most people. I'm surprised Tesla is bothering with battery swaps. I expect it is just to shut up the doubters and get some good PR.

Re:Phones yeah (2)

afidel (530433) | about 8 months ago | (#46685763)

480V 600A cables are smaller in diameter than current gasoline lines and probably not that much heavier per meter, though that would take ~20 minutes to fill a 100kw battery instead of 3-5 minutes for a gasoline fillup.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46684657)

Very fast charge (on the order of 1-2 mins for current battery sizes) would make "gas stations" viable for electric cars.

You've done the calculation for how many amps that would need, right...?

Re:Phones yeah (2)

nojayuk (567177) | about 8 months ago | (#46684761)

Fast-charging an 85kW battery, the same capacity as fitted to the Tesla S, from 20% to full in five minutes would take about 700kW or roughly the power feed for thirty-five typical US homes (100A @ 200V). If the "gas" station wanted to charge two batteries at the same time then double that figure. Halve the charge time to two minutes, double the power feed rating again. Assuming 400V battery packs a 2-minute fast charge unit would require connectors and cables rated to handle about 10,000 amps.

Folks don't realise just how much energy there is in a litre of gasoline sometimes.

Re:Phones yeah (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#46685525)

The difference is that you can charge your car at home, at work, at the car park or pretty much anywhere that has electricity. There isn't the bottleneck of everyone having to go to the petrol station and fill their tank any more. Most people will just charge overnight when electricity is cheap and never normally visit a Supercharger, because they don't drive 250+ miles a day.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Alioth (221270) | about 8 months ago | (#46684783)

Very fast charge is also completely impractical for cars with any forseeable technology. To charge the (relatively small, with only a couple of hundred miles range) 85kWh Tesla battery in 1 minute would require 5.1 megawatts of power to be delivered by the charging cable. Even at 11,000 volts you'd be looking at over 460 amps to do that. The largest power station in the USA is 6800MW (Grand Coulee) and would only be able to simultaneously charge 1334 cars assuming no transmission losses.

Quick charging beyond Tesla's superchargers is never coming with current generation and transmission technology. It will require some yet to be invented technology such as room temperature superconductors and enormous fusion power stations.

It probably also demonstrates something about how energy profligate that personal motor transportation really is.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 8 months ago | (#46685135)

So, use a big, braided, heavily insulated cable. With a connector about the size and weight of a gas-pump nozzle.

Now, neighborhoods won't want huge high-tension lines running to every corner "gas" station. But, no worries, we have these cool new high-rate high-capacity batteries! You just load a semi truck with them, and put on REALLY big (a few square feet) charge/discharge connectors. The truck charges up at the generation facility, drives to the local station, and discharges into the station's below-ground storage tank, er, battery.

Homes that don't have high-power electric available, or that don't want to pay for the service to be installed, can instead put a stationary tank, er, battery out behind the house. The propane, er, mobile-electric company would come around once or twice a month to refill, er, recharge it.

Aphorism of the future: "Never underestimate the current capacity of a station wagon full of batteries."

Re:Phones yeah (3, Insightful)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46685199)

It probably also demonstrates something about how energy profligate that personal motor transportation really is.

Yes it does, especially when you consider that electric vehicles are 80% efficient compared to 20%-efficient gas cars.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | about 8 months ago | (#46685123)

For cars any fast-charge battery doesn't remove the *ahem* "current" stumbling block but rather *moves* it.

Tesla's fast-charger claims a 4-hour recharge on a charger pulling 16.8kW and a charge will get you rougly halfway from San Francisco to LA - a trip easily made on a tank of gas.

To match a gas-station fillup you would need to transfer that amount of energy in about 5 minutes requiring a supply of a touch over 800kW. At 600VDC - the voltage used by BART - your cables would *only* need to carry about 1,300A to the car. By my reading, this means approximately six "strands" of 0000 wire per conductor or a dozen for a two-conductor cable. That cable will weigh approximately 6-pounds/foot plus an undoubtedly hefty plug and it will still get pretty warm during charging as well as being enormously attractive to copper thieves.

But since the fuel-powered vehicle gets 2-3 times the range on that refueling a more realistic comparison requires you to at least double the above numbers to reach refuel-time/driving-range parity. If they don't double the range on the electric vehicles then you need double the refuling stops with the attendent increase in number of "pumps" or stations. The required energy needs to get to the vehicle somehow.

When I pulled into Costco to fill up there were 20 pumps all with cars at them. Even if only half were actually fueling, the station would need an 8,000kW feed before even factoring in burst and safety-factor requirements.

To make matters worse, most people refuel in the daytime when electric loads are highest. Of course this is offset somewhat by the fact that daytime is when solar is available.

Overall, high-speed recharge for cars may bring as many or more problems than it solves, especially when the battery-swap alternative allows for load-leveling, for leveraging the ability to purchase at the cheapest or most environmentally friendly times, for eliminating the need for an owner to worry about large battery-replacement costs and potentially even for returning power to the utilities at peak-demand times.

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Prune (557140) | about 8 months ago | (#46685291)

Please mod parent down: charging the car in 1-2 minutes would require recharging at one to two megawatts, which, even at high voltage, would require two orders of magnitude more current than reasonable wiring can handle (reasonable: something a human could lift).

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 8 months ago | (#46685721)

Superconducting cabling is feasible (although I doubt they have a great bend radius), but that only solves one segment of the wiring problem. You still need to move the energy around in the car, and in the charge station.

Also, I wouldn't want to be around if somebody accidentally cuts a superconducting charge cable. Liquid nitrogen spraying everywhere is bad.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Prune (557140) | about 8 months ago | (#46685757)

Superconductors are not just temperature-limited, but also current-limited.

This is really an artificial problem. There's no point in tackling it, when fuel cells circumvent it neatly.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

locofungus (179280) | about 8 months ago | (#46685355)

I'm not sure you really need 1-2 minute charging.

Assuming an all electric infrastructure.

Cars would start the day fully charged - no need to "fill up" on the way to work - because of an overnight charge and it's reasonable to assume that will be sufficient for a typical day for most people.

The remaining obstacle is long distance driving. A 30 minute charge time every 4-6 hours wouldn't be unreasonable but that would only work if there wasn't a queue before you got to start charging. That's going to mean a lot of charging points - and probably there would have to be batteries at each charging point so that the load on the grid can be smoothed.

The tipping point (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46685375)

Very fast charge (on the order of 1-2 mins for current battery sizes) would make "gas stations" viable for electric cars.

I think the magic tipping point number is probably somewhere around 10-15 minutes. Maybe 20 at the outside. I doesn't have to be shorter than gasoline pumps but it needs to be relatively close in duration to get enough juice to go something like 200 miles or thereabouts. Technically challenging but based on observed technology progression I think it will happen before terribly long - perhaps 10 years.

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685507)

If I could fill up my gas tank in my garage every night, I would almost never visit a gas station. A few times a year I go on a road trip, but I always sleep somewhere with electricity. Call me lazy if you want, but I find as I get older that I am unmotivated to put myself through driving enough in one day to empty a full tank. I'm not sure how practical long haul electric shipping trucks would be, maybe a bigger battery pack is enough, maybe they will continue to be gas powered. It seems like worrying about how to make gas stations work with electric cars is like worrying about how to plug a mouse and keyboard into a smartphone. (This being a car thread I thought a computer analogy would be appropriate.)

Re:Phones yeah (1)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#46684507)

I would imagine mass is probably the biggest variable. What's the increase in range for every reduction of 1 kg of battery, presuming the power side stays the same?

Re:Phones yeah (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46685165)

Actually, drag is the most important issue on long trips. Mass is less of an issue in EVs because you can recapture 60% of your kinetic energy when you brake, and mostly a non-issue when driving at a constant speed on the highway. Adding lithium batteries to a car without increasing the drag profile invariably increases the range.

Re:Phones yeah (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 8 months ago | (#46684545)

Long charging times for electric vehicles stop any journey where the trip is greater than the battery range. Who wants to have to stop for hours to get a full battery when you are trying to get somewhere.

Liquid fuels can refuel most vehicles in 10 minutes, and half of that time is queuing and paying. Electric vehicles will have match that capability at some point or they are going to be forever stuck in the niche of toys and glorified shopping carts.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46685117)

Long charging times for electric vehicles stop any journey where the trip is greater than the battery range.

Yes they do, but we don't need this tech to fix it. Existing batteries can do it just fine [wired.com] , if we would only invest in enough high power charging points.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | about 8 months ago | (#46685195)

You don't need to abandon gas/other burnable fuels. An easy solution to the range problem is to outfit the vehicle with a range extender in the form of a small gasoline/diesel engine. I think 30 horsepower would do. (I'm basing that off a figure I heard years ago that cars only use 10-15 hp on the highway. 30 hp should be enough to account for losses+running accessories.) Couple that to a generator to charge the battery and run the motors/accessories, and you should have a vehicle that can have a 400+ mile range and be able to refuel at existing gas stations.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 8 months ago | (#46685369)

this is exactly how diesel locomotives work, and they are quite efficient. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]

Technology hurdles (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46685499)

Electric vehicles will have match that capability at some point or they are going to be forever stuck in the niche of toys and glorified shopping carts.

They probably don't need to match the speed of refueling with gasoline but they need to get close. I figure something in the 10-20 minute range for around 200 miles of range is probably about where it will get competitive.

There is the option of having a towable generator for longer trips to extend range for long trips. Think of it as hybrid on demand. Not the most elegant of solutions but might be a useful stopgap measure while electric vehicle charging tech develops.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 8 months ago | (#46685669)

And many journeys where the endpoint is more than half the range.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 8 months ago | (#46684609)

Actually it is VERY important. If your battery takes 4 hours to charge, it effectively limits your range for long road trips and also pretty much prevents short road trips.

If it takes an hour to recharge a battery, you can stop for lunch, recharge, travel till dinner, then stop again, travel on to your motel, then sleep for the night. Repeat.

If it takes four hours, then you ride in the morning, run out of power, stop for half the day, eat lunch, then are forced to wait 3 hour while you finish recharging. Then , travel on, stop for dinner the night. In effect, each day you travel 2/3 of the distance as compared to a one hour recharge.

As for short trips, it means that if you run out of power, a mere 15 minute partial recharge should be enough to get you back home where you can complete the full recharge. Compare this with a oh crap, I need to wait an hour at the seven-eleven to get enough of a partial recharge to get home.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46685093)

Existing batteries can charge to 80% in half an hour. The only thing stopping us is the scarcity of high-power charging stations, and making batteries charge faster only makes those stations more expensive and less likely to be actually installed. That is why improving battery capacity and efficiency, not the charge rate, and rolling out more infrastructure using the existing standards are the most important things for EVs right now.

Re:Phones yeah (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#46684627)

People are much more willing to put up with a 200 mile range on a car if it only takes them a 2-minute stop to recharge. If it takes an overnight charge, then that's a deal-breaker for anyone who might want to make long trips.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46685043)

There's a pretty big continuum between 2 minutes and overnight. Existing EV batteries can charge in half an hour at a suitable fast-charger station with a manageable cable assembly. Making them charge faster simply doesn't help because it (a) does not solve the problem of needing expensive high-power chargers everywhere, and (b) creates a new problem because you need ridiculously high voltage and/or current capacity in all the charging cables.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Adriax (746043) | about 8 months ago | (#46684663)

Charging is the current hangup for electric cars. Mainstream is addicted to the ability to drive any distance they want with one vehicle and be able to refuel in 10 minutes at any gas station of their choosing.

Give someone an electric car with a 1000 mile range and they'll complain about having to stop for 8 hours to recharge it in the middle of their 2000 mile roadtrip they totally plan on taking one day. Having to stop for 8 hours to rest after 16 hours of activity is totally unacceptable from a car.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 8 months ago | (#46684771)

^Get to a 1000 mile range for an 8 hour charge with a reasonable price point and you'll see mass market adoption because there are a large number of drivers who rarely drive that far. Folks that buy those cars won't complain.

Seems that we have a unnecessary complaint about future complainers.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 8 months ago | (#46685173)

Since the TSA started their nonsense, I take at least one 2000 mile trip and multiple 700+ mile trips per year. Living in Dallas, I can get to San Diego, Orlando, or New York in roughly 24 hours or less with two drivers, switching out at each fuel up.

I'd love to have a Model S for the 70% of my mileage to and from work, groceries, and entertainment, but 30% of my driving, I'd still have to have internal combustion.

Re:Phones yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684759)

I'm not sure charge speed is so important for cars
 
Charging speed is what's keeping me out of the EV market.
 
About 2 days a month would I really need a longer range than the Nissan Leaf. The thing is that I don't know when those days are. They're normally for work, maybe one day ever 3-4 months for myself. For me to rent a car two days a month is not only inconvenient but it's expensive. I still have another 3-4 years with my current car before I'm really ready to pull the trigger but it may happen sooner if a car that fulfilled all my needs was out now.
 
Higher capacity would help too, don't get me wrong, but faster charging times would cover all aspects of my needs where larger capacity only cover my needs about half the time I would need something better than what is out there today. I don't mind stopping every 1.5 hours for 2-3 minutes versus stopping one time for 45-60 minutes on a longer trip.

Re:Phones yeah (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#46684861)

Battery weight, size, capacity, and charging time are all important attributes for electric cars in general. R&D is being done to address all of those things, with varying success. You are correct in noting that even if a battery is capable of recharging in minutes, delivering that much power safely in the real world has some major hurdles. Other replies have mentioned battery swapping as one workaround. Another workaround that I'm hopeful for is batteries full of electrically charged liquid slurry. You would pull into a "gas station", the slurry in your battery would be pumped out to be recharged on site, and a fresh load of charged slurry would go in.

Each potential customer has a threshold of what is good enough for their individual needs. I got a Nissan Leaf a year ago because my threshold is pretty low, and I've been extremely happy with it. On the rare occasion when I need to make a trip that exceeds my car's capabilities, I just switch cars with my wife. If I couldn't do that, my threshold would be higher.

Bio-organic? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 8 months ago | (#46684443)

So, will I have to buy a new one every 6months or will I just have to buy some nanodot gel at inkjet prices to top it up every once in a while?

Yes! That's it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684487)

Woohoo!

We've finally solved all our problems with batteries! Yep, this is definitely the one, boy am I excited.

Current.... melt (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684499)

So, 30s for phone battery. Assuming it is 1Ah (1000mAh) 3.7V battery, we are looking at about 4Wh of energy. Over 30 seconds charge, this gives an average current of 120A at 3.6V or 450W current flow..

http://www.teslamotors.com/sup... [teslamotors.com]

See, they are already charging at a rate of 120kW at the supercharger. That's 250x faster than charging that cellphone in 30s.

Handling large amount of current is dangerous for other reasons. Things like explosions due to corroded parts melting, can be an issue in systems that are not monitored appropriately.

Re:Current.... melt (1)

sjwt (161428) | about 8 months ago | (#46684685)

WOW! well played, why don't we just use this tech now? OH wait, we are limited due to scaling issues with size, heat issues, physical wire size used in cell phones and chargers.

Re:Current.... melt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684811)

I was wondering about that, the power cables used did not look to be particularly high current, and TFA implies the prototype battery is 2000mAh (it says the "targetted 2,000mAh"), so how come those wires didn't burn? 240A at 3.6V would need some seriously beefy cable, even for 30 seconds. I call BS, all we saw in the "demo" is a progress bar move across a screen.

Re:Current.... melt (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46684867)

That's why I mentioned the fire extinguisher. ;-) They were going for 2 Ah, BTW. I can imagine a DC/DC convertor to circumvent the current problem, but then I'm skeptical about the new problem, which is cramming what amounts to a hundreds-of-watts-range DC PSU into a cell phone. Perhaps some middle ground regarding voltages and currents would do, but even then, you'd still need very high conversion efficiency for the converter not to overheat. I mean, do these people actually think about these things? If they do, I'd sure as hell like them to mention what they plan to do about it. Oh, and most battery chemistries also charge with some energy losses even if you discount all the transmission problems. That still sounds nasty.

Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve... (5, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | about 8 months ago | (#46684533)

A Tesla S has an 85kWh battery. To charge that in 30 seconds requires 10,200,000 watts of power - approximately the full electrical service to a decent size skyscraper. That's 42,500 amps at 240V, the full maximum power available to over 212 modern homes and a totally impractical amount of current to handle with any reasonable electrical equipment. So while fast-charging batteries are great and a necessary step forward in technology, the universal adoption of electric cars will require not just upgrading our infrastructure, but a complete rethinking and redevelopment of the electrical grid using not-yet-imagined technologies.

Sort of (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 8 months ago | (#46684681)

Once electric cars become prevalent, the charging time doesn't really matter for the supply and HV distribution side of the grid - each car sucks either 10.2MW for 30s or 10.2kW for a bit over eight hours (30,000s). Once there are enough that the spikes in charging smooth out, the demand increase is the same whichever charging rate you use. The only problem really comes at the edge of the grid, with the connection to individual houses currently being sized about three orders of magnitude wrong for this use. At this point, it's probably not too unreasonable to ask homeowners to pay to have their grid connection upgraded to give them the privilege of a 30-second charge for their car.

Re:Sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684753)

In this case the charging time matters 42kA will melt solid copper conductors in the 0.5" diameter range in seconds. A mechanical charging solution may exist, but not something you can plug in by hand.

Re:Sort of (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46684793)

You don't want to know how much that upgrade will cost.

If rapid charging ever becomes viable, they will have a second battery pack in the garage to supply the rapid charge power. Otherwise you'll need high voltage/current service to every garage.

There is not much need for home rapid charging. This is more about highway travel. If you've got 8 hours to charge, it will almost certainly be easier on the batteries to charge slow.

Re:Sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684821)

Or, more likely, existing gas stations get superfast charging stations put in, and most people just charge overnight at home knowing that they can do a fast charge elsewhere if needed.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#46684779)

IANAEE (I am not an Electrical Engineer), but couldn't you just locate some capacitors close to the charging location? Charge them up slowly over time, then quickly discharge them when a car needs juice, that way you're not putting the load on the grid all at once. It probably wouldn't work if you were to set them up like gas/petrol stations, since you wouldn't have much time between discharges to recharge the capacitors, but for home use, it seems (to someone such as myself who knows next to nothing on the subject and is quite open to being corrected) like it might be feasible.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#46684993)

It would still work (capacitors/batteries) in the sense that it would smooth the grid loading - you would charge during low times so that you could service at high times.

Of course, that requires enough storage for buffering - which would be probably 50-60% of the total capacity charged in a day. Well, that and cables too big to handle - even at 400V, you're still talking thousands of amps - and cable diameters measured in inches.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46685223)

IANAEE (I am not an Electrical Engineer), but couldn't you just locate some capacitors close to the charging location? Charge them up slowly over time, then quickly discharge them when a car needs juice, that way you're not putting the load on the grid all at once.

There's usually a queue at my local gas station.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#46685395)

IANAEE (I am not an Electrical Engineer), but couldn't you just locate some capacitors close to the charging location? Charge them up slowly over time, then quickly discharge them when a car needs juice, that way you're not putting the load on the grid all at once.

There's usually a queue at my local gas station.

If you had quoted just one more sentence, you'd have seen that I said it wouldn't work for gas stations.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about 8 months ago | (#46685693)

So put a big, obvious indicator on the charging station that shows a color-coded load level. After a while, EV owners will come to understand it at least enough to know that a high reading means their car will charge slower.

If consumers can figure out those little pinch-the-ends-to-read charge indicators in some batteries, and what a regular traffic signal means at an intersection, they can figure out "green means fast, red means slow" at the charge station and charge up or go elsewhere accordingly.

Stations can even display their capacity reading on their main sign under the price, if they're proud of it anyway.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684841)

Capacitors

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

timholman (71886) | about 8 months ago | (#46684995)

A Tesla S has an 85kWh battery. To charge that in 30 seconds requires 10,200,000 watts of power - approximately the full electrical service to a decent size skyscraper. That's 42,500 amps at 240V, the full maximum power available to over 212 modern homes and a totally impractical amount of current to handle with any reasonable electrical equipment. So while fast-charging batteries are great and a necessary step forward in technology, the universal adoption of electric cars will require not just upgrading our infrastructure, but a complete rethinking and redevelopment of the electrical grid using not-yet-imagined technologies.

Not to mention the fact that you are assuming perfectly lossless charging. If the charging process is 90% efficient (an optimistic number), then you need 11.3 MW to charge that car, with the battery pack dissipating 1.13 MW of waste heat during the process. That won't do much good for the interior of the car or its occupants.

Unless someone invents room temperature superconductors for electrical transmission lines, it will be impossible to replace our modern fleet with all-electric vehicles. Even if a refueling station could offer "swap out" batteries, it would still draw about 708 kW from the grid on a continuous basis trickle-charging the batteries, just to refuel 200 cars a day (and that's assuming lossless charging).

Electric cars are best suited for overnight charging from the grid, while the Tesla fast-charging stations are only practical because so few people use them. If everyone in the country bought a Tesla, the shortcomings of the electric power grid for electrical vehicles would quickly become evident.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 8 months ago | (#46685053)

The gas stations would have to have their own substations and high voltage service to do 30 second electric car charges. And a typical gas station has about 8 pumps. So 80MW to charge 8 cars in 30 seconds is going to be a killer unless you run a 120kV ~400A service to the gas station. Overhead lines would be a no go in many areas and underground lines are super expensive to lay. All that for a gas station.

A single 10.2 MW "pump" would require 430A @ 13.8kV. Or run 69kV to the pump and have an 86A circuit.

A bit more practical would be to aim for 5 minute charges. People can just chill in their cars and wait for them to charge in a few minutes, offer them free wifi while they wait. That would require 1.02MW per pump so a station of 8 pumps at full load would draw about 69A at 69kV which is a bit more practical. Of course they would still need a sizeable substation to step the voltage down to 480V or 600V 3 phase for the chargers. And then each pump would need a 1000-1200A breaker and multiple large cables. Imagine the cooling necessary for the switching bank in each of those pumps, they would be enormous. A better idea would be to build service stations on top of a pit filled with the substation and chargers. Liquid cool everything and a simple pump looking terminal up top with the charge cable would be the only thing visible. The footprint would also stay the same and cooling towers be located on the roof of the service stations shelter canopy. Or large ducts could be built to circulate air through the stations electric pit. The only concern would be flooding but that would be solved in the planning stages.

And then think about how large a 1.02MW charger cable would have to be. From a quick google the tesla batteries are 375 volts. So to pump 1.02MW @ 375V you have a charge current of 2720 Amps. The thickest cables for building service are 2000 MCM which is about the thickness of a baseball bat and needs to be bent with a hydraulic bender. Using special high temp jackets and such they are only rated to 1800A. They would have to make thinner flexible liquid cooled charger cables or invest in superconductors to make them practical. That or instead of a cable an arm that can be easily positioned via a spring or motor assist with heavy copper bus bars inside or liquid cooled conductors. It would look like an industrial robot arm and even grandma could maneuver it.

Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 8 months ago | (#46685263)

We'll just replace all those gas stations with induction charging stations at intersections, easily installed after we have all electrical below ground(because in the long run it's more cost effective). Your car will then request little bursts of charging to maintain a level you specify and you'll get billed automatically.

Would work well with mice and keyboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684539)

phone headsets
TV remotes
battery powered candles
General IOT devices

Forget fast charging via USB (3, Informative)

kheldan (1460303) | about 8 months ago | (#46684543)

At 2.5W, you won't be charging this battery in mere seconds with a standard USB connection. Anyone else notice the rather large connector the demonstrator plugged in to charge it? You'd have to have a charger capable of supplying several amps to charge it that fast. Assuming it's a 3.6V nominal battery at 2000mAh, that's 7.2WH. For a typical 2.5W USB connection, you'd still take 2.88 hours to charge your phone (longer if you take inefficiencies into account). Also, can a mini- or micro-USB connector's power pins handle several amps without getting burned? Don't get me wrong, I'm not discounting the possibilities of this development, but I am saying the demonstration was a bit misleading, and that there are problems that would have to be worked out before it'd be practical for a phone battery.

Re:Forget fast charging via USB (0)

Prune (557140) | about 8 months ago | (#46685357)

You think that's bad? Look at the genius who wants to charge car batteries at that rate: http://hardware.slashdot.org/c... [slashdot.org]

What's sad is not that post by itself, but the moderation it got, which really showcases the sorry state of technical education prevalent so much that even the average moderator at a supposedly technically-savvy place like Slashdot would confuse fantasy with an good idea within the realm of possibility.

Charge time is one thing... (2)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 8 months ago | (#46684547)

... discharge time is another. How long does the battery last? TFA (typically for stupid tech articles) omits this detail.

Re:Charge time is one thing... (3, Informative)

kheldan (1460303) | about 8 months ago | (#46684607)

Actually, it doesn't omit that at all, it states their prototype is 2000mAh. For discharge time, you'd have to know what the power requirements are for the phone they used to demonstrate it, and probably what the discharge curve for the battery looks like.

Re:Charge time is one thing... (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 8 months ago | (#46684651)

Actually, it doesn't omit that at all, it states their prototype is 2000mAh.

I stand corrected. Thank you!

Actually its not omitted. (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 8 months ago | (#46684851)

Only not explicitly explained.

In short - it lasts the same as the battery of that capacity lasts today.

'In essence, we have developed a new generation of electrodes with new materials â" we call it MFE â" Multi Function Electrode," StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf told Gizmag. "On one side it acts like a supercapacitor (with very fast charging), and on the other is like a lithium electrode (with slow discharge). The electrolyte is modified with our nanodots in order to make the multifunction electrode more effective."

It's basically a supercapacitor on top of a battery.
You charge the capacitor quickly, it discharges into the battery slowly, and because the capacitor is actually a part of the electrode the loss is minimal.

On top of that, not having to discharge the capacitor into the battery all at once, it can discharge into the battery slowly, without heating it up, increasing the battery's life-cycle.

Discharge time is not the issue. Like others have already mentioned - we're gonna need new (thicker) cables and connectors to charge that fast.
And we just got the reversible USB.

Charge in 30 seconds? (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 8 months ago | (#46684611)

Let's see, a 4,700mAh 5V battery has a capacity of 23.5 VAh or 84.6kJ. To charge that in 30s, you'll need a 2.82kW charger output. So whether it's feasible or not probably depends on what jurisdiction you're in - a British 240V 13A socket will give you 3.12kW, so as long as your losses are below 10% you'll just get it. An Australian 240V 10A socket will give you 2.4kW, so allowing for 90% efficiency of the charger you'll get about 40s to charge. A US 110V 15A socket will give you 1.65kW, requiring about 57s at 90% efficiency to deliver a full charge.

Just need a bigger power supply. (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 8 months ago | (#46684625)

If a 2000 ma/hr (2 amp/hr) battery supplies 2 amps for a full hour then we need to put the same amount of current in reverse to fully charge it. So a 2 amp charger can charge a (dead) 2A/hr battery in 1 hour. To do it in 30 seconds we need a heck of a lot more current. So a little math reveals that to charge it in a minute we would need 2A*60min = 120A/min charge current. And for 30 seconds we would need 240 Amps. Though I bet most people won't be charging stone dead batteries.

30 amps could charge a dead battery in 4 minutes. And the power supply wouldn't be that large, though it would have to be table top and have some heavy gauge cables coming out of it. Another issue is a new charge connector would be needed to handle the current. We might have to go back to charge cradles with large contacts.

Re:Just need a bigger power supply. (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about 8 months ago | (#46685655)

You're not looking at it correctly. You have to consider voltage to get a picture of actual power contained in the device. 2ah * 5v = 10 Wh = 0.01 kWh. For convenience, we look at this in kilowatt*seconds = 36kWs. To charge in 30 seconds would therefore require an absolute minimum of 36kWs/30s = 1.2kW of power. Even with some line losses this will fall well within the output capabilities of a U.S. standard residential plug.

This is going to be very hot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684637)

(Correct me if I'm wrong) 30 seconds charging time for a 3000MaH Battery capacity would implies a 120 Amp DC current
Waow!

Fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684673)

correction: 360Amp (!)

Extraordinary claims... (2)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46684659)

Am I the only one skeptical of whether this is real or not? What they describe doesn't make a lot of sense to me:

On one side it acts like a supercapacitor (with very fast charging), and on the other is like a lithium electrode (with slow discharge). The electrolyte is modified with our nanodots in order to make the multifunction electrode more effective.

So is it a battery or a capacitor? Maybe I'm just woefully ignorant of how lithium batteries work, but I was under the impression that it was the surface area of the electrodes and the activity of the electrolyte that govern the internal resistance, and hence the charge rate. Capacitance has nothing to do with it, unless you are charging up a capacitive "buffer" that drains into the chemical battery more slowly afterward, but that seems kind of pointless.

Pulling out buzzwords like "environmentally friendly" materials and nanodot "self-assembly" doesn't really help your plausibility, either. Anybody can make a box with banana jacks and an app with a timer in it.

Re:Extraordinary claims... (1)

Kurast (1662819) | about 8 months ago | (#46685461)

This seems like a super capacitor and a battery put together. You charge the capacitor, and it slowly charges the battery.

Something fishy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46684857)

2000mAh = 2Amps/hr Then it is charged in 30 sec? Thats 1/120th of an hr so charge current = 2x120 or 240 Amps!
That is equivalent to approx 2 house power services. That ammont of current is carried on what looks like
lamp zip cord on dual banana plugs good for ~ 10 -15 amps on a good day.
Sorry something just aint right. Maybe the demo is not the 2000mAhr model?

Re:Something fishy.. (-1, Flamebait)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 8 months ago | (#46685193)

2000mAh = 2Amps/hr Then it is charged in 30 sec? Thats 1/120th of an hr so charge current = 2x120 or 240 Amps!
That is equivalent to approx 2 house power services. That ammont of current is carried on what looks like
lamp zip cord on dual banana plugs good for ~ 10 -15 amps on a good day.
Sorry something just aint right. Maybe the demo is not the 2000mAhr model?

The difference is in battery voltage vs service voltage. (Power = volts * amps)

Lets assume smartphone battery operates at 5 volts. (mine does anyway)

5 volts * 2 amps = 10 watts

Now lets see how much power you get from a typical wall plug in US drawing those same 2 amps.

120 volts * 2 amps = 240 watts

24 times power from wall plug vs battery at same amperage.

Power is available.. question is selection of voltage allowing for desired charge rate while optimizing design/safety/cost constraints.

Re:Something fishy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685771)

My point is to charge that fast a high current is required with large conductors, not the power required.
0000 guage wire rated to 253 Amps and is .46" diameter for copper.
Lamp zip cord & banana plugs is not carrying 240 Amps!
The only way this works is if the big bulky box on the back is a high current converter,
which is dubious because it would likely be hot.

Re:Something fishy.. (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 8 months ago | (#46685283)

Yes 2000mAh will charge in one hour at a rate of 2 amps, and charge in 30 seconds at 240 amps. But the cell phone battery is 3.6 volts and 3.6*240 is only 864 watts, much less than the 1800 watts delivered by an extension cord. Assuming they deliver that to a DC-DC converter in the battery at 48 volts on the banana plugs they only need 18 amps, but that is still a lot. I still think the whole thing is cold-fusion-style vaporware.

What about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685303)

I'm no electrical engineer but the big stumbling block I'm seeing pointed out in a lot of comments is that a bunch of cars trying to pull this much juice off the grid all at once would exceed the capacity of any electrical plant. The same seems to be pointed out for why this wouldn't work for phones, but my question is why would they have to pull all this juice at once? Why couldn't you plug in a device that slowly pulls energy off the grid to charge its own battery then when you plug in your phone ZAP supercharges it? So a "gas" station would pull energy from the grid all day to slowly recharge its batteries then every time a car plugs in it charges them and then goes back to pulling energy slowly and refilling itself. I know that it becomes a battery limitation issue (especially when you upgrade the scale to car size) but couldn't that work?

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