Engineers working at Purdue University say they have come up with a game-changing technology that could revolutionize electric vehicle (“EV”) charging. Presently, EVs take longer to charge compared to refueling a conventional gas-powered car. Tesla Superchargers are currently the fastest EV chargers on the market, and they take around 30 minutes to an hour to charge a battery to 80%. With funding from Ford, engineers have invented a new charging cable that could speed up charging time to only five minutes. If this technology reaches mass production, it could make EV charging as quick and efficient as fueling a gas car.
However, this new cable is still in the early developmental stages. The patent for the charging cable is still pending, and the researchers haven’t tested the technology with an electric vehicle yet. On top of that, these new cables will only work in conjunction with charging stations that can deliver plenty of power and EVs that have been designed to take more power.
Even so, the technology represents a significant step towards making electric vehicles as convenient and easy to use as possible. With the U.S. looking to reduce its carbon emissions as part of global efforts to combat climate change, making electric vehicles more attractive to the public and boosting adoption would be a great first step.
The Purdue University engineers made their breakthrough by addressing an issue that has been a constant hindrance to significantly increasing charging speeds: overheating. Flowing currents generate heat, and the faster the currents flow, the hotter it gets. As such, EV charging systems, including the battery and cable, will continue to heat up as the charging speed increases.
However, too much heat will degrade the batteries, reducing their ability to hold a charge and reducing their overall range. The engineers overcame this hurdle by using a liquid to vapor cooling system that can remove 10 times more heat than liquid cooling.
Issam Mudawar, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, has been working on the cooling technology for more than 30 years. When the temperature reduces, the charging cable’s performance increases by a wide margin, thereby safely accommodating more than 2,400 amps. This is five times what the Tesla Superchargers deliver at 520 amps and more than two times the 1,000 amps that are needed to bring charging times for large EVs to below five minutes.
EV charging times are being reduced at a crucial time when many electric vehicle startups, including Rivian Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ: RIVN), look poised to command a big stake of the market with vehicle models that motorists could grap up quickly if the bottleneck of inadequate charging infrastructure is addressed.
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