You understand this better than I do

New battery technology could give electric cars more than 200 miles of charge in as little as 10 minutes, according to new research.

Hmm, OK.

To do so, the team developed a battery that uses thin nickel foil to create an internal self-heating structure. By heating the battery to 60C, then cooling it to room temperature, they were able to charge the battery to 80% in 10 minutes but avoid damaging it, even when repeatedly charged in this way. A Tesla Model S currently takes 40 minutes to charge from a flat battery to 80% using a supercharger.

Well, yes, but doesn’t faster charging mean you need ever bigger and thicker copper cables to pump the ‘leccie in?

54 thoughts on “You understand this better than I do”

  1. Promises, promises.

    There are always breakthroughs on the way– eg Cures for Cancer–how many decades since Nixon launched his War on Cancer–long fucking war–and these scientistico words are just more poop troops in the battle for bullshit.

    Produce a working technology you conmen. Then it can be considered. Filling peoples ears with promises more slippery than Fairy Liquid adds up to zero.

  2. “Well, yes, but doesn’t faster charging mean you need ever bigger and thicker copper cables to pump the ‘leccie in? ”
    For each charging point, yes. But then you need fewer charging points in a car park or charging station. So long as you can get the punters to unplug after 10 minutes instead of wander off for 2 hours as usual. Although automatic shutoff with multiple outputs per charging point could take care of the sharing too.

  3. Petrol can deliver, using a normal pump, around 600KwH in a couple of minutes. That’s about three teslas full in a fifth of the claimed time, so 15 times faster than this claim and sixty times faster than the current supercharger.

    (Yes, I know a petrol engine can’t get all the energy out of the petrol efficiently)

  4. My understanding is that a Tesla S Long Range has a 95 kWhr battery and can be charged from empty to full in 40 hours using 3 feeds at 24 Amps. If that is so then it would take about 17,000 Amps to fully charge from empty in 10 minutes. I am not sure how one works out the cable size as there will be heating problems with large cables that reduce the carrying capacity but a simple extrapolation from household wiring at 16 sq mm suggests a cable with a cross section of 3,400 mm would do it. A round cable that size would have a radius of 344 mm so a diameter of just over two feet. Superconductivity would do it with smaller cables!

  5. The word ‘repeatedly’ is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. How repeatedly? Twice? 10 times? 100 times? If the battery on a high-end car has a useable range of 200 miles and the life-span of such a car is 150,000-200,000 miles then it will need to do 1,000 cycles, and if it starts degrading then it will need to do more cycles because each one is less effective.

    Up ’til fairly recently I had a 14-year-old Jag with over 160,000 miles on the clock. The petrol tank had the same capacity at that age that it did when it was new, and “recharging” it with 85 litres of petrol (good for nearly 600 miles on the motorway, 400-450 miles of more average driving) took 2-3 minutes. The same as when it was new. When batteries can do that they will have come of age.

  6. Not really..

    The charger cables are already heavily overdimensioned, and at the grid business end, given the fact that most charging stations are at the same location as a normal fuel station, which has it’s own heavy duty grid connection already, there isn’t a problem.

    For home charging… Unless your grid is still in the Stone Age… Shouldn’t be a problem, as you can set up the charger for dual/triple phase. And a normal house *should* have at least dual phase here in Eur’p.
    Unless, of course.. Stone Age…

  7. If it’s the copper losses you’re worried about, the heating in the cable is I²R. If you double the voltage, and halve the current you get the same power out the end, but you have quartered the copper losses.

    Notice that you can send power for a small town over three cables not much thicker than your thumb, but they’re running at 40,000v

    You can get a huge amount of power (not current) down a thin copper wire if the voltages are high.

  8. @John Arthur

    I don’t know what voltage you’re looking at there? For it to take 40h at 24A to charge a 95kWh battery we need to be using a single phase at 110V, allowing for 10% loss in the charging process.

    Charging a 95kWh battery to 80% (with 10% loss) requires 85kWh of electricity. Doing this in 10 minutes requires 510kW of power. Tesla’s superchargers use 480VDC so we’re looking at just over 1kA of current. These kinds of currents are welding territory; a welding cable less than 500ft long carrying 1200A (to give us a little overhead) is 0000 gauge, equivalent to just under ½” diameter. Big but not ridiculous.

  9. @John Arthur…So, one 2-foot diameter cable (which is going to weigh rather a lot!) to charge the car, then how big is the cable going o be that feeds the charging points? I think that Porsche and ABB came up with an experimental 10,000 Amp system that used a cable about 6 to 8 inches in diameter, but it would still be beyond the strength of most women, and a lot of men, to plug it into the car.

    It occurs to one that “the powers that be” haven’t really given this a lot of thought.

  10. Wonko, it’s just a fancy form of preconditioning the battery to avoid some charging side effects.

    As long as the cells stay sealed, there isn’t a problem.

  11. I’m dubious of this claim: batteries can be charged quickly or have high capacity- electric car batteries need both to compete with ICE’s. This chemical process is inherently slower than transferring electrical current, as there will be resistance across a physical boundary inside the battery. You can’t cheat the laws of thermodynamics…

  12. The big problem with electric cars: Where is the electricity coming from? If we all drive electric cars we’ll need – what? – another six nuclear power stations to recharge them, regardless of how long it takes for a recharge. Then we would have to upgrade our electricity distribution system, digging up all the roads and pavements to install heavier cables, and quite possibly sticking transformers on every street corner.
    Then we have to consider the fact that fewer than forty per cent of homes have driveway or garage parking. How are people living on the fifth floor of a block of flats going to recharge their electric car? So on the latter, we have to dig up the pavements and roads again to install charging points on every street.
    What’s all this going to cost? One or two trillion pounds? What total nonsense. If there is such thing as man-made climate change, and I doubt it, it would be far cheaper and easier to mitigate the effects.

  13. Electric cars have serious flaws: limited range and long charging times.

    With this announcement, electric cars have limited range and long charging times.

    But now, many Leftards think that is being fixed, so it’s okay to force people into electric cars.

    ‘Electric cars could fly in future, finds research’

    FIFY

  14. There was a report in one of the Sundays a couple of weeks ago about a British inventor who claimed to have produced a super battery which had several times the capacity and output of current (sorry) designs. To cap it off, it about the size of a tub of butter. There was a photo of the guy holding up said magic battery but it looked to me suspiciously like a switched mode power supply.

    Of course, the motor industry were now conspiring to shut him down whereas I would have thought they would be queuing up to get their hands on it.

    Reminded me of all the tales from decades ago about the man who had discovered how to run an ICE on water but had mysteriously been disappeared by the very same motor industry goons.

  15. “Superchargers” rated at 250, 350 450kW or whatever. These can’t really be connected to the normal mains loops which supply domestic, retail, light industrial (or rather and work reliably flat out)

    Ten 350kW chargers going full belt at once, the wrong side of 3MW. Without a humongous upgrading of the electricity infrastructure (hint NOT windmills or solar panels) which would include a huge upgrading of the distribution network, mass use of milk floats is a fantasy . A double, triple fantasy for those who glibly say “supercharger” when questioned about charging times.

    I strongly suspect that a lot of fools who have actually bought milk floats – like vegetarians who have bacon on the quiet – won’t tell the truth about how long it takes to charge or how often they need to.

    If there was somewhere with, say, ten 350kW “superchargers”, it all depends on the feed to the particular site. I would be very surprised if many (any?) could have them all going full belt at once.

    Think of a typical garage. Ten pumps is by no means unusual. Couple of minutes per “charge”. The equivalent for milk floats? Not using batteries governed by any physical laws we currently understand.

    Petrol and diesel cars phased out by 2030. My arse!!

    Remember the Sinclair C5? I really can’t see that the electric car “revolution” (2% of sales last year I believe) has any more basis in reality. Sorry, I really can’t

  16. Somewhere I have a newspaper cutting from the era when Tony Bennito was encouraging the unions at British Leyland to take over the joint. There was an interview with a steward wherein he explained that once the union ran the works they’d introduce all the technology that had been suppressed by the capitalist cartel, so soon we’d have cars with the most wonderful fuel economy.

  17. Electric cars might make sense for two-car families if they were a lot cheaper. The cars I mean.

    I don’t understand the case for hybrids unless it becomes attractive to drive one to avoid city-centre ICE restrictions.

  18. To expand on Chris’s comment above, the electric car “revolution” will stall as as soon as it becomes successful.
    There’s a Brit guy I know lives in one of the small inland towns. Greeny always singing the praises of electric. He’d buy one if he could afford it. Just plug it in & it’d recharge overnight. Everyone should have one. I said to him, go look at all that mess of cabling stapled to the walls all through your town. That’s your electricity supply grid. You think that’s going to carry the current to supply a town full of Teslas? Cue hand waving.
    Everything I’ve seen on grid capability on delivering juice is based on nameplate figures. Reality is, apart from recently built housing estates, the consumer end of the supply grid doesn’t look much different from that Spanish town. A mess of cabling strung together over decades with varying degrees of incompetence. You start pushing it towards its theoretical limits you’ll find its non theoretical limits. The gap could be quite large.

  19. If your petrol car runs out of fuel you can walk to the nearest petrol station to get a can of fuel. What’s happens if an EV runs out of charge on the road? Does someone bring a battery to give you enough electrons to get to the nearest charge point or a case of being towed?

  20. Dongguan J: if you tun out of leccy at the side of the road, you bring a diesel generator to charge up the battery. That’s how Tesla does it when they’ve parked new vehicles in a field before delivery. There’s a youtube from about a year ago, demonstrating the technique. I think it was linked from zerohedge.

  21. Instructive that the “wow” comparison is with an old model Tesla.

    The Model 3 can charge about 3x as quickly.

  22. I read an article recently at WUWT which pointed out that if the whole world is to be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050. (and in order to ‘save the planet’ that’s what has to happen – at least according to the greenies. It’s no good little old England going it alone.) Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. For the world to go ‘carbon free’ by 2050 we would have to roll out a new medium size nuclear power station every day between now and then. And we should have started last year.

    Of course, since our betters hate nukes, we would have to build 1500 new wind turbines every day but we would also need to build backup fossil fuel plants for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun don’t shine.

    Even for plucky little Britain, to produce enough energy to charge all the electric cars would require a massive number of windmills and then they’ve decided that we have to replace all the gas cooking and heating as well.

    The PTB have obviously thought of this and the way forward is obvious:- No cars and precious little heating for you unless you’re of the nomenklatura, so trying to work out how to charge your leccy car is pointless. You won’t have one. Concentrate on working out how to incorporate a hidden illegal chimney in your council flat. You’re going to need on to keep your family warm.

    Oh, and these numbers don’t take into account the growth in demand for energy as the rest of the world industrialises.

  23. Batteries get warm during charging, why do they need a heater? Isn’t the problem with fast charging overheating? Starting with a hot battery seems counter-intuitive.

    And if 5 cars are waiting to recharge… that’s still an hour to get going again.

    As for cables, etc… in order to replace the energy from motor fuels with electrical energy will require about 50% more generating capacity.

    Talking about cables, grid equipment and load when considering a handful of cars charging now and then is not the same as providing electric generation and distribution for 30 million plus vehicles a large proportion of which recharging at any given time and frequently.

  24. @John B

    What you describing is a thing called reality. Why anybody with a single ounce of critical faculty and greater technical knowledge than a nematode worm can’t see it I really can’t understand, but millions can’t.

  25. Local college built some smart chargers for a trial, used the amount of parking time you had paid for and current charge as well as an option to enter length of next trip so it could share charging capacity across 5 vehicles at a time, if you are talking about a quick top up (10-15mins) that sort of provisioning could work well

  26. Anyone with a GCSE in a STEM subject and access to a calculator/spreadsheet can verify all the problems identified above. So are we to assume that nowhere in the civil service can any such person be found? Or is it that they know it’s all bollocks, but keep on saying it anyway?

    And the generating and carrying capacity needed on the National Grid pales into insignificance compared with replacing all gas and oil heating by electric.

  27. I used an online current-carry-capacity calculator, but it crashed. Pen and paper scribbles with reference to my On-Site Guide gives me 800,000 mm2 cable for 17,000A at 230v. That’s 0.8 m2 cross-sectional-area, or 1m in diameter. Bending radius of about a furlong.

  28. Bloke in North Dorset

    You can get a huge amount of power (not current) down a thin copper wire if the voltages are high.

    Indeed, but the technology doesn’t fit inside a car, it helps you get to somewhere with the space for a substation and allows pylons right up to it. Not useful for most suburban areas.

    It occurs to one that “the powers that be” haven’t really given this a lot of thought.

    Understatement of the year winner.

    Then we have to consider the fact that fewer than forty per cent of homes have driveway or garage parking. How are people living on the fifth floor of a block of flats going to recharge their electric car? So on the latter, we have to dig up the pavements and roads again to install charging points on every street.
    What’s all this going to cost? One or two trillion pounds? What total nonsense. If there is such thing as man-made climate change, and I doubt it, it would be far cheaper and easier to mitigate the effects.

    Its not just the cost, which is eye watering. In the tech boom of the late ’90s we were budgeting $100 per meter for fibre laying, most of that was the cost of digging and making good. Think of the disruption if most streets in a city have to be dug up? I wouldn’t want to be the PM if that starts happening.

    If your petrol car runs out of fuel you can walk to the nearest petrol station to get a can of fuel. What’s happens if an EV runs out of charge on the road? Does someone bring a battery to give you enough electrons to get to the nearest charge point or a case of being towed?

    There was a picture doing the rounds of on Twitter of a load of cars being charges in downtown San Francisco because the blackouts caused by fires and as a precaution meant they couldn’t be charged at home. Who’d want to live in that area AND rely on an electric car as your escape mechanism?

  29. “With a website that crap, it has to be a scam”

    Indeed – if there (sic) proof reading is this bad:

    “Before an ion receives and electron”

  30. @dearieme

    Electric cars make ideal second cars. Actually, it works the other way around – they make great primary cars, but then you need an ICE second car to cover for what they can’t do.
    My daily commute is 50 mile round trip, which is achievable in most current electrics, with a bit of margin. The problem for me if I buy electric is that I semi-regularly do long trips (e.g. yesterday I drove more or less Manchester to Bath and back).

    For two car families, one electric, one ICE makes a lot of sense.

    As for hybrids – my experience is that they can more or less equal the MPG achieved by a skilled driver in an equivalent ICE car. Dad has a new petrol hybrid Yaris, I have a 11 year old petrol example. We’ve road tested on identical trips, and get essentially the same MPG, but I’m very good at squeezing miles out of a gallon of fuel – I’m getting 65mpg out of a vehicle with a book number of about 42mpg.

    What a hybrid does is take most of the skill out of getting that good MPG. Instead of always being in the right gear (including neutral a lot of the time), always conserving momentum where possible etc, the hybrid does most of this for you – so whilst it would save me very little, for Joe average they do get him more mpg than the equivalent manual car.

    Of course a plug in hybrid is a an extra win, because most of the time you can drive it around on untaxed electric, rather than heavily taxed petrol (which is the main attraction of electric cars from a cost perspective).

  31. Chris Miller,

    “Anyone with a GCSE in a STEM subject and access to a calculator/spreadsheet can verify all the problems identified above. So are we to assume that nowhere in the civil service can any such person be found? Or is it that they know it’s all bollocks, but keep on saying it anyway?”

    It’s for show, virtue signalling. Any prediction 30 years in the future can be ignored. None of the people promising it now will be called to explain why it didn’t happen.

    Personally, I think improving transport in other ways, and more efficient ways of getting stuff will happen faster than electric cars, to the point that people will be doing so few miles it won’t be worth changing. I’m thinking of ditching my car and just having 1 family car because I do so few miles, it’s cheaper to just take a bus, cabs etc.

  32. @Dongguan John October 31, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    No “can of electric”, then it gets worse

    Towing EV’s damages motors, warranty void – flatbed required

  33. New battery technology could….

    Nuclear Fission could…

    Wave power could…

    Meanwhile existing technology does give petrol cars more than 600 miles of charge in as little as 5 minutes

  34. “Before an ion receives and electron”

    So, two atoms were walking down the street. One says to the other, “Hey, let’s go in that bar. I lost an electron in there last week.”

    “You sure?”

    “I’m positive.”

    Be sure to tip your waiter.

  35. Electric cars have been around for over a century.
    The tech now has better batteries, better charging, much better safety.

    So I could drive the car to my local Tesco, park up at a charging bay, connect up then go do my shopping. Car fully charged by the time I get back? great.
    Even half charged by the time I get back means another couple of weeks worth of use.

    Lots of places these days where can park a car, connect up then go do whatever. Rather than being stuck at a petrol station away from the shops for several minutes dealing with the pump, the wait to get required fuel in, then paying.

    A 200 mile range would last about 5 weeks, more if not got any trips away planned.

  36. @theProle: thanks. With a hybrid you are paying both for the complex IC engine plus its drive train, and for the electric motors and battery. With a purely petrol car you are paying for only one.

    P.S. I saw something the other day I could hardly believe: the claim that in a hybrid the conventional 12V battery used by the engine typically isn’t charged up when you charge the drive batteries by plugging in. Something of an oversight?

  37. The people driving the “electric car revolution” don’t forget, are the same ones who think a toy train at damn near a billion a mile (if it ever gets built, which I doubt) from central London to Birmingham will somehow magic a million jobs into existence.

    And there are those among them who think this toy train can be powered by windmills at the sides of the track.

    Of course they can legislate the climate a hundred years from now.

  38. @dearieme

    The battery bit of a hybrid is often quite small, certainly compared to a pure electric car, and that’s the expensive bit in a pure EV.
    This is why hybrids aren’t all that much dearer than regular ICE cars.

    Also, a hybrid can get away with a less pokey engine than an equivalent ICE car, whilst giving astonishing acceleration, as the electric motors have a near limitless overload capacity for a few seconds.
    The acceleration available in an electric car is only really limited by the tyre grip and traction control – I’ve a friend with an electric Golf, and it’s astonishingly fast.

    I’m not aware of many hybrids with separate start batteries for the engine – I think most use the main EV battery.

  39. To me the interesting thing is the bottom up ‘market led’ evolution in transportation. I live in Hong Kong where I drive a Tesla. I drive it to work every day (c 12km each way), plug it in in the car park at the office and in 5 years I haven’t spent a penny on fuel, nor as it happens on maintenance. An overlooked virtue of an electric car is there are hardly any moving parts that need expensive after sales servicing, which is further disruption for the traditional model. Hong Kong has a lot of Teslas mainly because in the first instance they waived the 100% tax ( since gone thanks to aggressive lobbying by big auto) and thus a Tesla costs the same in HK as UK, whereas an equivalent. BMW or Mercedes cost 2x as much. The reason for this was that the govt of HK wanted to reduce roadside pollution not Co2.
    Meanwhile, over the border in Shenzhen, the government there replaced all their bus fleet last year with electric, for the same reason. They can’t do that yet in Hong Kong because too many hills, but given Tesla next year are bringing out a semi truck that can do 500km on a charge that can’t be far away.
    Those electric trucks are then interesting, particularly in China where c 50% of all transportation fuel consumption is said to be freight. China’s biggest strategic vulnerability is oil imports and as we know they are not averse to building nukes or even coal for their ‘leccy’.
    Elsewhere we see the rise of uber and the decline in urban car ownership. In London the majority of Ubers are Prius hybrids since the economics determine the choice of car rather than the ‘status’ of the driver. As such average fuel consumption efficiency is increasing while roadside pollution is dropping. All the big autos now have hybrids which will also spend most of their urban time on electric power. A really interesting approach is the Nissan note e-power Which has a petrol engine, but it is only used to power the battery and thus drives like an electric car (ie much better) and thus has none of the need/issues for charging.
    Autonomous/semi autonomous electric buses and public utility vehicles, electric freight trucks, pure electric or hybrid urban taxis and ubers, small Nissan note like semi urban runabouts and big swanky status SUVs with a green element for cheap urban motoring and motorway cruising to the country house. All with barely a government planner involved.

  40. I still don’t get what problem it is that electric cars are supposed to solve. Is it the modern day equivalent of penitence?

  41. Bloke in North Dorset

    Mart T makes a good point about pollution. I was working in London when the 7/7 bombings happened and all the buses were taken off the road. Walking from Trafalgar Sq to Marylebone was almost a pleasure. I hadn’t taken in how noisy busses were as well as the fumes they kicked out.

  42. @theProle & dearieme

    My main car is a plug-in hybrid with a 12kWh drive battery and a tiny ‘car’ battery, which is just there to ensure the electronics can always start up. When I plug it in, the drive battery gets charged, the secondary battery is automatically charged every day from the drive battery on a timer handled by the car’s electronics. Of course, we have a second petrol car for fun and giggles.

  43. If the 12v battery on the average hybrid is flat then the vehicle is dead because the electronics aren’t powered up. Needs a jump start to go.

    The electric-only range on a plug-in hybrid is quite low, for example the Mitsubishi Outlander is less than 30 miles. After that you’re lugging around a heavy battery pack which uses a fair bit of extra fuel.

  44. @Mr W

    I can confirm that my Outlander gives ~35 mpg just on petrol, which isn’t bad for a 2-ton SUV.

    90% of my trips can be done on electric only, but that accounts for just over half my total mileage. So the actual mpg is in the high 80s. If I account for the cost of the electricity I put in, that gives an ‘equivalent ‘ mpg in the 50s.

    But I know Outlander owners who are road warriors and do nearly all their mileage on petrol – they only have the car for the tax breaks and it does very little to reduce CO2 emissions (if you care about that sort of thing). Perverse government incentives – whatever next?

  45. @Martin October 31, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    So I could drive the car to my local Tesco…..Rather than being stuck at a petrol station away from the shops for several minutes dealing with the pump

    Alternatively you could fill up at Tesco pump without going shopping, having a coffee…

    @Southerner November 1, 2019 at 6:44 am

    Thanks

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