Lithium ion batteries may soon be able to charge much faster thanks to what seems like a simple substitution of one mineral for another in the battery’s cathode.
Researchers from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this month announced they had achieved much faster charging rates in lithium ion batteries by replacing the usual cobalt oxide used together with lithium in the cathode with vanadium disulfide.
“It gives you higher energy density, because it’s light. And it gives you faster charging capability, because it’s highly conductive. From those points of view, we were attracted to this material,” said Nikhil Koratkar, the lead author of the study.
The researcher added that improving the electrodes was the way to making lithium ion batteries perform even better.
It seems lithium ion batteries’ dominance will be hard to break with so much work being put into improving these batteries. Koratkar’s team’s work is only the latest example of this work, but there are scores of labs around the world looking for the same ultimate reward: maximizing the performance of the world’s dominant battery technology before a viable alternative really makes it out of another lab.
Recently, the race to reduce charging times for EV batteries specifically heated up as new superchargers came on the scene with few batteries capable of actually using them without getting fried in the process.
Tesla last month opened its first V3 Supercharger station that has a capacity of 250 kW and can add 30 km of range per minute. The company has made its new cars compatible with the new, faster chargers, but Tesla is more of an exception in that it makes its own batteries and chargers.