British Start-Up Unveils EV Battery That Can Recharge in Under Five Minutes

A startup based in the United Kingdom has developed an electric vehicle battery that can reportedly recharge in less than five minutes. The recently unveiled EV battery could finally solve one of the most challenging aspects of owning an EV: the vehicle’s batteries take too long to charge. While every fossil fuel-powered vehicle can refuel in only a couple of minutes, EVs take anything from 30 minutes to several hours to recharge.

Even using a Tesla Supercharger can take longer than refueling a vehicle due to the limited ratio of super-fast chargers to electric cars. If Cambridge-based start-up Nybolt successfully debuts its EV battery system, electric-vehicle drivers will finally be able to recharge their cars almost as fast as it would have taken them to refuel an internal-combustion engine (ICE) car. The 35kWh lithium-ion battery demonstrated that it could charge from 10% to 80% in a little more than four and a half minutes in its initial live demonstration — much faster than most of the EV batteries on the market today.

The novel EV battery system is even faster than the Tesla Supercharger network, which is currently the fastest EV charging network; it can refill an EV in around 20 minutes. Nybolt cofounder and CEO Sai Shivareddy said the startup conducted “extensive research” in the United Kingdom to develop a novel EV battery technology that can be scaled up immediately. A statement released by the Nybolt executive noted that the UK start-up was making it possible to electrify new services and products which were previously thought to be impossible or unviable.

The startup’s novel technology is built on 10 years of research by Clare Grey, a battery scientist from the University of Cambridge, as well as Shivareddy, who also studied at Cambridge. This research helped the start-up develop a battery capable of charging at super-fast rates without generating any excess heat, allowing it to avoid the damage often caused by fast charging. Additionally, this makes the batteries less likely to overheat and significantly reduces odds of them catching fire and exploding, making them safer than regular lithium-ion EV batteries.

Electric vehicle fires are a relatively rare occurrence. However, when they do occur, the first are so intense that they require more water to put out and can cause major property damage. Past efforts to increase charging speeds haven’t been successful as the risk of battery damage and fires increases with charging speed. With the new battery system, we may be looking at a future where electric cars can charge in only a few minutes with minimal risk to both the EV battery and the users.

Other manufacturers such as QuantumScape Corp. (NYSE: QS) are also hard at work developing better EV-battery chemistries. The future looks bright regarding viable quick-charging electric vehicle batteries.

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