MAHLE has unveiled a new battery technology for small vehicles and e-scooters that offers ultra-fast recharging coupled with good power density.
Co-developed with UK-based Allotrope Energy, the new lithium-carbon technology enables a full charge to be delivered in a similar time to refuelling an internal combustion-powered vehicle.
According to its creators, the new battery cells are fully recyclable and are not susceptible to the runaway events. Their biggest advantage however is that they are free from rare-earth metals – thus making the new technology cost-effective too.
“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,” says MAHLE’s Head of Research, Dr Mike Bassett.
According to Bassett, the new small capacity lithium-carbon battery is not just inexpensive, it can also be recharged between stops in as little as 90 seconds!
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.
This ensures that there are no thermal degradation effects as experienced by traditional lithium-based batteries.
Moreover, 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.
Additionally, its capacitor-style cathode enables a lifetime of over 100,000 cycles, far greater than conventional batteries, while the elimination of rare-earth metals.
MAHLE, as part of its project, investigated the scenario of a city-based e-moped fast-food delivery service with a 25 km target range.
While a 500 Wh conventional lithium-ion battery would require a recharge mid-shift that, even with a fast-charger, would take more than 30 minutes, a lithium-carbon pack can be recharged at 20 kW in just 90 seconds.
This means that a full charge could be achieved in the time taken for the next delivery to be collected.
Bassett’s team came up with its own built-in capacitor-based energy store to deliver ultra-fast charging up to 20 kW by augmenting the power from a typical 7 kW single phase connection.
This helps reduce costs and complexities while eliminating the need for expensive power grid connection upgrades.
Image and content: MAHLE