GAME-CHANGING NEW BATTERY
Charge your bike fully in 90 seconds
Mahle, the automotive parent company behind the Ebikemotion X35 motor system, has partnered up with Allotrope Energy and is developing a new battery that is a hybrid between lithium-ion and capacitors, allowing for super fast charging at up to 20Kw. This could change the game for all forms of electric transportation as more and more states sign bills outlawing the sale of gas-powered cars within the next few decades.
That’s the sale of new gas-powered cars, not the banning of them. The average age of a car in the U.S. is 11.6 years, the average driver keeps a car for about 7 years, so even with California and New York saying no new gas cars can be sold there by 2035, gas cars are likely to be the norm there for a decade or so after that.
This battery offers true promise in alleviating some of the counter arguments against owning an electric vehicle. The Lithium-carbon batteries are made without rare earth metals, and are 100% recyclable. But, lest you think they’d be recycled as quickly as a conventional li-ion battery, which are good for around 1,000 charge cycles, the li-C cells ae good for 100,000 cycles.
“Range anxiety is often quoted as the main barrier to electric vehicle adoption, but if the battery could be recharged in the same time it takes to refuel a conventional IC engine vehicle, much of that worry goes away,” suggests Dr Mike Bassett, MAHLE Powertrain’s Head of Research.
“With the rise of the on-demand economy, there’s been a rapid increase in the use of petrol-powered mopeds for urban deliveries such as take-away meals, and this has contributed to air quality issues in our cities,” continued Bassett. “Decarbonizing these deliveries has so far proved difficult without maintaining a stock of expensive interchangeable batteries or switching to a larger, heavier electric vehicle with increased energy consumption.”
However, in a collaborative project with Allotrope Energy, MAHLE Powertrain has considered how an electric moped could be used as an urban delivery vehicle powered by an inexpensive small capacity lithium-carbon battery that could be recharged between stops in as little as 90 seconds.
Allotrope Energy’s lithium-carbon technology combines the benefits of super capacitors and traditional lithium-ion batteries to deliver a cell that can be recharged quickly and yet retains good energy density. The technology features a high-rate battery-type anode and a high-capacity electric double layer capacitor (EDLC)-style cathode, separated by an organic electrolyte.
The result is a battery cell with that suffers none of the thermal degradation effects experienced by traditional lithium-based batteries. Its stability, even at high temperatures, permits high current delivery and fast recharging, all without the need for complex external cooling or elaborate battery management systems.
“With ultra-fast charging, the size of the battery can be optimized to suit the scenarios the vehicle will be used in, and that leads not only to weight savings but also cost reductions that further lower the barriers to decarbonization,” Bassett pointed out.
“The real challenge came in designing the electrical architecture capable of absorbing such high rates of charge,” said Bassett. “Additionally, with no suitable charging systems on the market that can deliver these charge rates from a domestic supply, we created our own bespoke design.”
The idea of being able to equip different vehicles with different battery configurations based on need isn’t new, but this Li-C technology brings so much promise, and answers the prayers of the range-anxious drivers and riders who dread long charge times and batteries that won’t last as long as the car. With this level of battery life, these batteries could conceivably be taken out of an older car and put into a newer one.
As we’ve always said, with batteries and motors instead of engines to power vehicles, it removes some of the design constraints and offers a chance to redesign or reimagine vehicles or create new forms entirely.