A new battery technology company is preparing to commercialise new technology which could lead to rapid charging times. Echion Technologies, the Sawston-based battery specialist born out of Cambridge University, is looking to bring the battery tech to both smartphones and electric cars. The firm claims that the recharging times could drop to as little as six minutes. Currently, rapid charging times are around 45-minutes or in some exceptions 30-minutes for a decent amount of range.
This is significantly longer than it takes to top up a petrol or diesel car.
If this technology could be commercialised then it could revolutionise travel on the go allowing cars to be extremely quickly charged up.
The new technology involves graphite with a new material says, Dr Jean De La Verpilliere who won’t reveal exactly what it is but it could be compound, reports Cambridge Independent.
Verpilliere created a material that could be used in lithium batteries two years ago when he also founded Echiom.
The focus of the company is on high performance materials innovations for lithium and n lithium-ion battery technology.
According to the report, materials are simply ‘dropped in’ to a lithium battery infrastructure.
“The powders are the central component of a lithium battery,” Jean says.
“This is a new kind of powder which allows you to recharge in six minutes, not 45 minutes. This includes a car, so your electric car is almost as easy to charge as it is to refuel conventionally.”
“The problem with the usual powders is that when you fast-charge them they can cause an explosion. With the new material – which I can’t tell you any more about – it will accept fast-charging with no safety hazard, unlike graphite.”
Currently, the company, who has benefited from some funding by Cambridge Enterprise, can produce 1kg of powders a day, which is equivalent to the amount needed for a car battery.
However, the company said it is working on scalability to enable higher volumes to be produced.
“We’re working on methods to make powders which are scaleable and where 1,000 tonnes could be made quite easily in factories,” says Jean.
“We have a prototype now and are moving towards commercialisation early next year.
“The tests have to be validated beforehand.”
Newable’s investment director Alex Sleigh said: “As an investment team, we felt the product that Echion was producing was superior to anyone else in the market, particularly with regards to the time required to charge the batteries.
“Furthermore, the support that Echion received from a world-class institution in the form of Cambridge Enterprise gave us huge confidence, allied to our view that the majority of autonomous vehicles in the future will be powered by battery technology.”