Nov. 9, 2012 at 2:13 PM ET
What's 90 minutes? A movie, a soccer game, a load of laundry? In that same time, a “fast charger” unveiled this week by Volvo could fully juice up your electric vehicle.
For those who don't know, charge time of all-electric vehicles can be a dealbreaker for the greenish technology — it can take 10 hours to charge a battery that only gets you 100 miles! Volvo's 90-minute claim is touted as six-times faster than comparable units, according to the company. The breakthrough could help spur sales.
While an hour and a half can seem like forever, with the appropriate infrastructure in place, getting a decent top-off in the parking lot at the grocery store or at the sports arena becomes a possible scenario.
Volvo is testing the technology in its Volvo C30 electric cars. No word on when it might be available to the public or costs, Earth Techling noted.
The other piece to the electric vehicle puzzle is developing batteries that cost less and last longer than those currently on the market. MIT Technology Review is out today with a bird’s eye view of the battery landscape that notes promising developments on the horizon.
While some battery makers are struggling, including bankrupt A123 Systems, Envia Systems “has already built prototype lithium-ion batteries cells that store about twice that of the best conventional lithium-ion batters and be recharged hundres of times,” Technology Review noted.
Other notable developments include Toyota’s work on solid state batteries and 24M’s technology that the company says “combines the best attributes of rechargeable batteries and flow cells for the development of cost-effective, high energy systems.”
Further out on the horizon are potentially game-changing technologies such as 500-mile-per-charge lithium-air batteries, but the road to scale up is rocky, giving lithium-ion batteries “a long time to improve,” Technology Review notes.