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5-minute electric vehicle charging could be here soon, professor says – EQ Mag Pro

5-minute electric vehicle charging could be here soon, professor says – EQ Mag Pro


Ford Motor Co is working with scientists at Purdue University in Indiana on a patent-pending plan to slash the average time it takes to recharge all-electric vehicles at charging stations from an estimated 25 minutes to 5 minutes.

“That’s a game changer,” said longtime industry analyst John McElroy, host of Autoline After Hours podcast and webcast. “All of a sudden, it makes electrics far more viable for everyday use for people. It opens up the potential EV market.”

The man leading the effort, a mechanical engineer, has developed cutting-edge technology used in jumbo jets and spaceships. Now he’s applying that intelligence to all-electric cars – and how to reduce the time it takes to recharge batteries, so people don’t feel anxious about watching their vehicle run low.

This is a physics class that applies learnings to the real world. Professor Issam Mudawar, 66, a Beirut, Lebanon, native who came to the United States to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has spent nearly four decades developing scientific solutions to industry’s trickiest challenges.

He initially predicted a two-year window until the electric vehicle charging technology comes to market. His team is working around the clock to make it happen by 2023. But he told the Free Press in an interview it could happen even sooner than his forecast.

Mudawar is in the final test stages for a special charging cable. That’s it. A cable. But what it does is magical. Knowing that batteries can overheat when charged too quickly, auto makers have been trying to figure out a way to cool down the process.

Rather than redesign the battery, work instead to cool the process down. “Today, chargers are limited in how quickly they can charge an EV’s battery due to the danger of overheating. Charging faster requires more current to travel through the charging cable,” Michael Degner, senior technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering 1, said in November in a Ford news release.

“The higher the current, the greater the amount of heat that has to be removed to keep the cable operational.” That charging cable that plugs into an electric car resembles the hose you see at the gas station pump.

The thing that transmits fuel – or energy. But this new cable design from Purdue uses liquid to cool the cable, then turns the liquid to vapour. This vapour element is revolutionary. The secret Mudawar has spent nearly four decades at Purdue developing ways to more efficiently cool electronics.

The lab in Purdue has come up with a solution to a scenario that has paralysed the industry – where too much heat is produced to manage with available technology, Mudawar said. Using an alternative cooling method, he and his team have designed a cable that can deliver a current 4.6 times that of the fastest available EV chargers on the market today by removing up to 24.22 kilowatts of heat, Purdue said in a news release in November.

The project was funded by a research and development alliance between Ford and Purdue. Another reason for faster charging is because the need to charge is not predictable even though it’s tracked on the dashboard screen like a fuel gauge. Battery charge is affected by speed, weather and topography.

Mudawar decided against pursuing a career in oil painting to dedicate his life to science. Addressing ‘range anxiety’ Worry about distance a car can drive on a battery is often called “range anxiety,” and this new technology addresses that issue. But that’s not even the best part. “People have said that range anxiety is one of the big things. But no, no, charge time is the new range anxiety,” McElroy, of “Autoline,” said. “People think, OK, I can live with an electric car but I don’t want to be stopping for 30-45 minutes to charge if I’m on a road trip.”

Moving quickly A prototype of this new technology, this charging cable, is being tested in the lab now. In coming months, Mudawar will study the speed of charge on various electric vehicles and move as quickly as possible to get the product to market. While auto makers led by Tesla – including GM, Ford and Volkswagen – have battery electric vehicles on the market currently, public use of charging stations is expected to surge in the US with the introduction of bestselling Ford and General Motors pickup trucks.

Source: stuff

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network