A collaboration between Estonia’s Skeleton Technologies and Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has resulted in the development of what the team is calling the SuperBattery for electric vehicles (EVs). It’s a graphene-based battery they claim charges in just 15 seconds. If the technology proves out, it could be a major game-changer for the EV market.
According to New Atlas, the battery appears to be a hybrid that combines ordinary lithium-ion cells and Skeleton’s ultracapacitor cells made from graphene, with both elements working together. Regular lithium batteries are capable of storing a lot of energy, but they both charge and discharge slowly because of their low power density.
Supercapacitors have much higher power density, in part because they store power statically instead of in chemical form like lithium batteries. This means they’re able to charge (and discharge) at a significantly higher rate, even after hundreds of thousands of cycles. However, in order to hold the same amount of energy as a lithium battery, they need to be many times larger in size. This makes them of limited use in EVs, which look to lighten their load wherever possible.
The idea is to combine the long-term, high-density storage abilities of lithium batteries with the power density of supercapacitors to produce a battery that’s lightweight and small in size while able to charge and discharge much faster than conventional lithium batteries.