Monday, March 16, 2009

Less Time at the "Pump"

Engineers a short drive up the highway at MIT have discovered a way to make electric vehicles more feasible to consumers. They've revamped the surface structure of Lithium-ion batteries, a popular choice amongst manufacturers of many fields producing battery operated devices, including automobiles. These batteries are a common choice because of their ability to hold a large quantity of energy. However, they require a relatively long amount of time to take a charge, which when it comes to automobiles, means more time at the "pump" when recharging your electric car.

The discovery that the MIT engineers have made allows the battery to be charged in just about as much time as it would take to fill your gas tank, making one of the downfalls of electric vehicles a thing of the past.

Here's a quote from the article detailing the process that allows the quicker charging time:

"Further calculations showed that lithium ions can indeed move very quickly into the material but only through tunnels accessed from the surface. If a lithium ion at the surface is directly in front of a tunnel entrance, there's no problem: it proceeds efficiently into the tunnel. But if the ion isn’t directly in front, it is prevented from reaching the tunnel entrance because it cannot move to access that entrance."

Oh, and did I mention that this process also makes the batteries smaller and lighter? Music to my ears. Take a look at the size of the Chevy Volt's battery:

Imagine the hoops the GM engineers had to jump through to package that monstrosity and how much performance suffered as a result of its weight...not something we're interested in, that's for sure.

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