There is no theoretical ceiling to how fast EV charging can get, but a sub-10-minute to 80% time is realistic within five years with solid-state battery tech.
From an engineering perspective, EV charging is limited predominantly by the technology in electric vehicles. The battery, electrical architecture and onboard charger all limit potential EV charging speeds.
Today, the fastest EV charging speeds are delivered by vehicles with 800V architecture, such as the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Porsche Taycan. 800V is double the voltage of a Tesla Model 3, which is why these cars charge faster.
For instance the IONIQ 5 charges from 10-80% in 18 minutes with a charger delivering around 230kW. The Taycan does it in around 22 minutes.
800V architecture makes the most of lithium-ion technology, which is what today’s EVs have. So, to increase charging speeds in vehicles with lithium-ion technology, we can increase the voltage to enable greater power transfer.
However, lithium-ion technology is not the future in its current form. Future batteries will charge much faster.
Graphene will unlock a sub-10-minute charge
In five years, we expect solid-state batteries and graphene batteries to start taking over from lithium-ion. Graphene EV batteries, in particular, will revolutionise charging speeds, potentially delivering a 10-80% charge in less than 10 minutes.
The key to graphene’s incredible ability to charge cars rapidly is it dramatically increases electrode density and speeds up the chemical reaction inside the battery, enabling faster charge speeds and greater power transfer with less heat.
Related: How to choose an EV home charger
There are many competing graphene technologies, including aluminium-ion graphene, sodium-ion graphene and lithium-ion graphene. Aluminium and soda-based chemistries are appealing because sodium and aluminium are so abundant.
Solid-state batteries look like the near future
However, before we get to graphene, solid-state batteries might takeover.
VW partnered with 24M technologies last year for their SemiSolid battery manufacturing process, and they are invested in solid-state battery company QuantumScape.
Meanwhile, Nissan also announced last year it will use solid-state batteries by 2028 using proprietary cobalt-free technology.
Battery manufacturers are also investing. Factorial Energy is developing a solid-state battery for electric cars and has signed up Kia, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis as investors, huge names that mean business.
Whatever happens, EV batteries are a hot commodity, and researchers are working around the clock to come up with new winning chemistries.