An Israeli company named SlashDot may stand to attract the attention of electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla with the development of a car battery that can add 100 miles of range to most electric vehicles with a standard charger like Tesla’s Supercharger in five minutes, or gain a full charge with a “high speed” charger in the same amount of time. This is comparable to the time it often takes to fill up the gas tank of an “ordinary” gas-powered car.
SlashDot has already contracted with Chinese manufacturing firm Eve Energy to manufacture the batteries. This could help them get “demo” models in front of electric car manufacturers who may have worried that slow charging times might hurt sales.
“You’re either afraid that you’re going to get stuck on the highway or you’re going to need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the experience of the driver is exactly like fueling [a petrol car], this whole anxiety goes away,” said SlashDot CEO Doron Myersdorf.
The new batteries make use of semiconductor nanoparticles that can survive the fast charging process in place of the graphite that many automobile batteries use in their electrodes. While lithium ion batteries with graphite could theoretically be fast-charged, the rapid charging process would cause a “congestion” of lithium ions in the graphite, damaging the battery. SlashDot’s semiconductor nanoparticles make it easier for lithium ions to travel through the battery more quickly and easily.
Elon Musk has gone on record as saying that he would like to make gas-powered vehicles obsolete with his electric vehicle models, and many consumers who may be in the market for a new car but worry about the future price of gas may agree with him. However, the idea of spending hours at a charging “pump” may be a turnoff for them even with conveniences like the snack and coffee stand at Fastned’s new charging station in Germany.
While Fastned has claimed that its chargers can add 300 miles of range to a typical electric vehicle in 15 minutes, that might not be true for all charging stations worldwide and the potential of damage to batteries that can’t handle fast charging might be a turnoff for many consumers.
Musk has expressed an interest in improving battery technology, including the announcement of a more efficient battery manufacturing process at last September’s Battery Day event. Tesla has also picked up stakes in car battery manufacturing companies like German ATW Automation. Musk has even recently advertised jobs on Tesla’s Careers page that would have successful applicants helping with cell and battery production. The faster charging speed of SlashDot’s car batteries may catch Musk’s attention if the news hits his desk.
Battery cell production is the fundamental rate-limiter slowing down a sustainable energy future. Very important problem. https://t.co/MYOUSAC2AK
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 18, 2021
According to experts like Professor Chao-Yang Wang, an energy storage expert working for a subsidiary of Pennsylvania State University, batteries like SlashDot’s need not be very much more expensive than existing batteries used by electric vehicles.
“They will not be more expensive; in fact, they allow automakers to downsize the onboard battery while still eliminating range anxiety, thereby dramatically cutting down the vehicle battery cost,” he reportedly told The Guardian. He also seemed to make a swiping reference at Tesla’s planned $25,000 electric vehicle: “Finally we are achieving parity with gasoline vehicles in both cost and convenience. We have the technology for $25,000 electric cars that race like luxury sport cars, have 10-minute rechargeability and are safer than any currently on the market.”
Professor Wang mentioned that it would have to be rechargeable at least 500 times without much degradation of the battery to be considered viable. SlashDot claims that its new battery can be recharged at least 1,000 times while still maintaining 80 percent of its original capacity.