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One small supercharging tweak

Can controlling current and voltage speed up EV battery charging?

Probably every EV driver would like to reduce the time it takes to charge the car. Well, researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory think they've found a way to do it.

As described in an article in New Scientist by Jeremy Hsu, a technique developed by Eric Dufek, who manages the Laboratory’s Energy Storage & Electric Transportation Department, uses artificial intelligence algorithms "to look at how changing factors such as current and voltage impacts battery aging over time." By testing various scenarios, Dufek and his team developed a charging protocol that could charge an EV in a third of the time, hitting a "90% charge from empty in 10 minutes."

Hsu contacted Feng Lin, an associate professor at Virginia Tech, to explain the process further, using the example of people crowding through a door:

“If all 100 people rush into the room, we’re going to get stuck and we don’t get as many people into the room within that short amount of time, so you get lower capacity with fast charging. There is also a chance that when you rush so many people into a room, the door might be broken, so the battery materials can potentially be damaged.”

The Idaho researchers' experiments suggest that their ways to "optimize the curve" could be customized by auto manufacturers, to adjust charging protocols based on their specific battery pack designs.

Next up? As reported by the American Public Power Association, "The researchers plan to use their model to develop even better methods and to help design new lithium-ion batteries that are optimized to undergo fast charging. The ultimate goal is for electric vehicles to be able to 'tell' charging stations how to power up their specific batteries quickly and safely," Dufek said.

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