[EDIT: Since publishing this story, it has come to our attention that this story is indeed about storage technology, not charging technology. We're investigating our sources to try and better understand the advancement made in Japan]
The time it takes an electric car to fully recharge from empty has always been the technology’s Achilles heel, with even a so-called rapid-charge taking half an hour for a car like the 2012 Nissan Leaf.
As most consumers will tell you, they think electric cars should refuel as quickly as gasoline ones.
But that goal might soon be in sight thanks to a joint project between Kansai University in Japan and Nissan’s own team of electric car engineers. Between them, the team has managed to develop charging hardware a new type of battery system which reduces the time it takes to rapid charge a car like the 2012 Nissan Leaf from 30 minutes to just 10 minutes.
By replacing the battery with capacitors and changing the electrode material inside capacitors from carbon to tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide, the engineers discovered the power circuits inside the car could the charger could handle more power, increasing the amount of power that could be safely fed into the car’s battery pack. In other words, the advance isn't in battery technology, it's in charging technology. , allowing the car to charge more quickly than a conevntional battery could.
As well as dramatically shortening the time it takes an electric car to charge, the new capacitor material could have big implications in everything from computers to medical equipment, increasing efficiency and improving power output of many different devices.
Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf
Sadly however, the newly-designed rapid charging system could be as many as 10 years away from being used in commercial applications, so we’re stuck with a 30-minute rapid recharge time for now.
Then again, 30 minutes isn’t that bad, is it? After all, that’s not much slower than the time it takes you to visit the restroom, buy a coffee and queue for gas, now is it?