Sprint Power charges ahead to deliver an 80% charge in 12 minutes

Taking charge times to another level

EV battery lifespan

Topping up to 80% in 30 minutes is so 2021.

With today’s 800v architecture, cars like the Kia EV6 charge from 10-80% in as little as 18 minutes in ideal conditions. But what if we could slash that by a third?

British company Sprint Power is working on technology that will do just that as part of the £9.7 million UK government-backed CELERITAS project.

Backed by the UK Government and consortium members AMTE Power plc, BMW, bp, Clas-SiC and Eltrium, CELERITAS is developing next-gen cells for battery electric vehicles that will deliver an 80% charge in as little as 12 minutes.

A new kind of battery

The CELERITAS project, headed by Sprint Power, is targeting BMW’s future battery specifications. It will develop a battery that charges faster than current batteries while maintaining discharge and capacity requirements.

A key company behind the project is AMTE Power plc, which will lend its rapid charging cell technology to the project. AMTE Power (LON: AMTE) is developing next-gen lithium-ion cells and is the world leader in sodium-ion battery technology.

As we discussed in our graphene batteries article, sodium-ion batteries hold a similar capacity to Li-ion batteries but charge faster. Sodium is so abundant and cheap that it is a leading candidate for future battery chemistries.  

Sprint Power and AMTE Power plc are said to be working closely to develop new chemistry and architecture that enables wickedly fast charging speeds.

What will the new battery be like?

The new battery will probably be based on 800v architecture, but the specifications are speculation at this point.

It could be a sodium-ion battery with a cathode containing a sodium material, where sodium is used as the charge carrier, but it is more likely to be a lithium-ion cell.

One way to make lithium-ion batteries faster is with an open electrode design, which scientists at the University of Twente found increases charge speeds up to ten times.

Their experimental chemistry uses nickel niobate for the electrode, which has an open and regular crystal structure with identical channels for ion transport. This facilitates ion transfer, speeding up charge times considerably.

The need for charging speed

Ultra-rapid chargers can charge 400v vehicles from 10-80% in around 30 minutes, while 800v vehicles will do it in around 18 minutes in ideal conditions.

While these charge times are decent, the truth is that they are still too long, especially when multiple vehicles are queuing for one charger.

The ambitious goal to reduce a 10-80% charge down to 12 minutes would significantly reduce queue times for chargers and make public charging more convenient. Also, it would mean more revenue for charger operators.

80% in 12 minutes flat

Imagine charging your electric car and being on your way in the time it takes to cook a steak, let it rest, and make a salad.

Charging to 80% in 12 minutes is impossible with the current generation of electric cars. With an electric vehicle, either the voltage or current can be increased to boost power flowing to the battery. When the current increases, cables need to be thicker because more space is needed for electrons to move through.

A better solution to increasing power flowing to the battery is increasing the voltage, which lowers the current, reducing cable thickness due to less resistance in the conductors as electricity flows through the cables. However, there is still a ceiling to charging speeds, and that ceiling is battery chemistry.

Sprint Power, AMTE Power and other members of the consortium behind the CELERITAS project are creating a new battery that can accept faster-charging speeds. The precise chemistry and architecture of the battery is unclear, but there are a few possibilities.

Overall, this is an incredibly exciting project. 10-80% in 12 minutes would be incredible. We’ll keep this post updated, so stay tuned for more.  

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Alfred drives a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus but has his eye on a fully-electric pick-up truck. He'd love an electric Ford Ranger, which should be a real thing in a few years!