Range anxiety. This one is the daddy of all EV bugs. No one wants to go for a drive and run out of juice unexpectedly. Or at least, that’s how some consumers might perceive how things go down when batteries run out of juice.
This issue is well on its way to being solved with larger, more high-tech batteries that can provide hundreds upon hundreds of kilometers of range, much like the old Corolla sitting in your driveway. Eventually however, the battery will run out of power and that’s when the next problem arises.
In fact, according to some, this is the bigger or biggest burden of EV ownership; charging times. Leaving home after a full night’s charge is fine and all but at one point, the EV will need a boost. The time required to recharge batteries varies wildly depending on applied voltage and amperage and battery size. And I do mean varies, as in between 30 minutes and 20+ hours.
Either way, lining up at a recharge station for anything more than 10 minutes is unacceptable. Enter Toshiba and their new batteries that can be fully charged in about 6 minutes. This is made possible by using a next-generation anode material called titanium niobium oxide anode. It allows Toshiba to double the lithium storage capacity by volume of the graphite-based anodes. I’m nowhere near well-enough versed in fundamental chemistry or advanced fabrication techniques to fully understand what’s going on here but the fact is that Toshiba managed to demonstrate that their prototype preserved 90% of its capacity after 5,000 charge and discharge cycles.
Most importantly is that throughout the test, the 6-minute fast charging worked even in cooler temperatures. At below 10 degrees Celsius, the charge time rose to 10 minutes, which is still acceptable.
The next challenge then is the charging network. This one will require a large group effort and could prove the biggest challenge depending on where you live, and how electricity is produced…