Engineers Develop System That Charges EVs In 5 Minutes

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Charging electric vehicles just got faster and easier.  Engineer Kanno Tomio and his teamv in Tochigi, Japan  patented and demonstrated a new, ultra-fast charging system. The system was able to fully charge the Nissan LEAF’s battery pack in under 5-minutes.

Tomi and his team were able to quickly transfer the electricity required to charge the LEAF by making use of capacitors. These capacitors could power up their own charge over time, while still releasing huge amounts  of energy instantly.

One great aspect of Tomi’s capacitor-based charging stations is that they can also be set-up to collect their reserves of power during off-peak times.  The charging stations can also be fueled by Japan’s existing energy infrastructure without needing any special connections  installed.

Tomi and his team expect to begin installing its fast chargers in homes and businesses beginning in 2012. The charging stations will be available in U.S. and European markets shortly after its Japan release. The price for these charging stations has not been revealed at this time.

Source: Gas 2.0

14 Responses

  1. Banana Leaf says:

    Cool. Innovations like this would be a game changer.

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  2. N Riley says:

    But what effect does this type of charging have on battery life? I was under the impression that fast charging all the time shortened battery life. Wrong or right?

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  3. N Riley says:

    When I said fast charging, I was thinking of really fast chargers like this one. Not the fast chargers that do the job in 4 hours instead of 12.

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  4. Tom K says:

    If Nissan was serious about this potential “game changer”, they’d donate a LEAF so these engineers can charge & drive under real world conditions, see how long the battery lasts and improve on what wears out. As a LEAF owner, the time it takes to recharge is the biggest drawback…

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  5. BLIND GUY says:

    The system was able to fully charge the Nissan LEAF’s battery pack in under 5-minutes.

    Does that mean that the battery pack was charged to 100% or the recommended 80%? I am going to assume they mean 80% unless I read something that confirms otherwise. If the batteries life span is not shortened by this method, then it would be “game changing”. I really like the ability to charge the capacitors during off peak and especially not having to have any upgrade to existing to code power-in lines. I would think these capacitors could maybe also be used with smart grid tech. to smooth out sudden peak demands. Will it be affordable and practical?

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  6. SPIKE says:

    I would sacrifice shortened battery life for a faster charge. The majority of time you are Level 2 charging at home anyways. The ability to go longer distances will make EVs comparable to ICE engines with regards to mobility.

    A 5 minute fast charge is clearly a game changer. The majority of car owners buy a new car every 3 to 5 years and battery life is a minor variable. EV Battery technology is advancing at a very rapid pace (e.g. Lithium Air). Eight years from now the battery pack on 2011 Nissan Leaf will be very old technology (just like 8 year old cell phones or computers). If rumor is correct, even the 2012 Nissan Leaf will have a better battery pack compared to the 2011 model.

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  7. SPIKE says:

    If Nissan was serious about this potential “game changer”, they’d donate a LEAF so these engineers can charge & drive under real world conditions, see how long the battery lasts and improve on what wears out. As a LEAF owner, the time it takes to recharge is the biggest drawback…  

    The 5 minute charge WAS done on a stock Nissan Leaf!

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  8. SPIKE says:

    The system was able to fully charge the Nissan LEAF’s battery pack in under 5-minutes.Does that mean that the battery pack was charged to 100% or the recommended 80%?I am going to assume they mean 80% unless I read something that confirms otherwise.If the batteries life span is not shortened by this method, then it would be “game changing”.I really like the ability to charge the capacitors during off peak and especially not having to have any upgrade to existing to code power-in lines.I would think these capacitors could maybe also be used with smart grid tech. to smooth out sudden peak demands.Will it be affordable and practical?  

    The article does not specify what full charge meant but they assumed 80% to 90%. The original artilce also mentioned a different company in Japan that can charge a Nissan Leaf to 50% in less than 3 minutes. The excess heat produced while performing any type of rapid charge causes the battery life to shorten.

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  9. RB says:

    Fascinating. Does the charger connect to the battery pack in the usual way, or are there connections to individual cells in the pack? One wonders if maybe the latter, or else there are some large diameter cables someplace.

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  10. Steve says:

    The usual level 3 charging (30min to 80%) is supposed to reduce the life of the battery a if it is done too often. But 5 minutes to full is about 6 times faster. So I think it is safe to assume that the current LEAF battery wouldn’t do so well with frequent very-rapid charging. But, a future version of the LEAF battery could be designed to better handle very-rapid charging without a problem. A full charge in 5 minutes would be awesome, but I’ll bet it’s still a few years away.

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  11. Jimza Skeptic says:

    Sounds like EEStor better get crack’n. I am sure the Japanese will issue a cryptic message that they are very close with this charger by the end of the year. Can hardly wait to see how long before people get tired of the bi-annual press releases that will be coming!

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  12. Tony Williams says:

    I predict LEAF 2.0 has liquid cooled (and heated) batteries.

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  13. mark smith says:

    ok – so if you need 120amp cable (as thick as an arm) to charge the car to 80% in 26 minutes what size cable do you need to charge the car in 5? 26/5 x 80 = big number, right? Surely the charge cables would have melted? or are the inner cables of the Leaf capable of charging at 1000amps?!
    Yes – wonder what the effect on battery life is? Maybe it’s ok as long as you charge to only 80%?

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  14. CuriousTech says:

    A 10C (or 12C) charge isn’t hard at all on newer Li-Ion Poly cells. Undervoltage, overvoltage, and heat are though. The heat is only an issue as they get full, but thermal and resistance sensing keeps the life of the cells from deteriorating by reducing charge current, which increases time as they get full. On RC cells we can’t really get 100% in 5 minutes, but about the first 74% can take max current with no heat issues. After that it’s exponential and that part could be delt with when there’s more time as a balancing/conditioning measure. That is a scary amount of current for a full size car though. Amazing.

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