A small Israeli start-up has developed the technology it believes will eliminate the lineups for electric car chargers and the ‘range anxiety’ associated with the vehicles, but the question remains how long it will take to hit the open market.
StoreDot, who specialise in ultra-fast recharging batteries are currently developing a car charger they believe will rival the time it takes to fill up a standard petrol tank.
Funded by some of the world’s biggest companies, including British Petroleum, Samsung and TDK, StoreDot has skin in the battery game, testing the prototype battery on phones, drones and scooters.
Doron Myersdorf, who founded the company in 2012, says StoreDot is aiming to radically alter the electric car experience and the emotions that come with it.
"We are changing the entire experience of the driver, the problem of 'range anxiety'... that you might get stuck on the highway without energy.
“The innovation could eliminate the hours required to recharge an electric car.”
Currently being tested by manufacturers, the battery could still be a long way away from being a standard practice in electric vehicles.
Eric Esperance, an analyst at Roland Berger, says there are many more hoops StoreDot and the electric vehicle industry must jump through..
"We are still far off from the industrial automotive market," he says in an interview with AFP.
Myersdorf has worked on a variant of the lithium-ion batteries that won John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino the 2019 Nobel Chemistry Prize, that are faster charging and feature different materials, such as switching the original graphite in the battery's negative anode with silicon.
"We wanted to demonstrate that you can take a lithium-ion battery, replace some of its materials and then charge it in five minutes,” he says.
"We are taking that amazing innovation of the lithium-ion battery and upgrading it to extreme fast charging capability.”
Batteries are assembled in a laboratory equipped with large glass boxes, sealed to keep oxygen out. StoreDot chemists clad in goggles and white coats build 100 batteries a week, sent to companies for possible use in their products.
"We are working on taking this solution to the market in parallel, by designing the manufacturing facilities that would be able to mass produce this battery," Myersdorf said.
The Nobel jury praised the lithium-ion battery for being able to "store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society".
While many car manufacturers are looking to align with government proposals worldwide of the majority of new cars being sold being electric, there are still some logistical hurdles.Charging stations would have to be adapted for the new generation batteries, costing between $1,500 and $10,000 depending on capacity. Electric cars are also still expensive, and in 2019 they represented only 2.6 percent of global sales, according to the International Energy Agency.
That said, in order for the planet to be preserved, the money must be spent. Myersdorf believes the sooner the world switches to electric vehicles the better, pointing to the "huge impact on the planet".
Currently there is no recycling procedure for lithium-ion batteries, and this will become an immediate focus well before the StoreDot battery hits the market. With each battery having an approximate lifespan of 3000-3500 charges, these batteries most certainly do not last forever.
Myersdorf says there will be a recycling system put in place by the time the battery becomes a mainstream entity, but the work must be done now.
There is no official word on when the fast-charging lithium-ion battery by StoreDot will be completed. With strong financial backing and a desire harboured worldwide for more electric cars on our road, it is safe to estimate that we’ll see it sooner rather than later.