Rapid-charge battery technology will soon become a behemoth market. British firm Zap&Go made a major breakthrough yesterday with the demonstration that its ‘Instant Charging’ carbon-ion cells can charge an electronic device–in this case a power drill–in just seconds.
The demonstration, held at Zap&Go’s Oxford laboratory, proves that the company can compete in the electric vehicle (EV) battery market. Recent research by Forbes suggested the sector could soon be worth $240 billion, as the world shifts from traditional combustion engines to greener, more efficient solutions.
Most battery-powered vehicles take hours to charge to 100%–usually overnight–says Zap&Go CEO Stephen Voller. “Many offer a ‘fast charge’ or ‘Get you home charge’ of 15-20 minutes, which usually charges the battery pack to 30% or so. Tesla quote an 80% charge from one of their Super Chargers in 40 minutes.
“Our goal is five minutes to a 100% charge, which is about the same time it takes to fill a tank with gasoline or diesel today,” he adds.
Over a million electric vehicles will be sold this year. Some automakers are committing to making a quarter or more of their output battery-powered within the next decade. Governments, too, have been vocal in recent support for electric vehicles. France has announced it will ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. A host of other nations, including China, India and Germany, have launched major incentives for the proliferation of electric and hybrid fuel vehicles.
Zap&Go’s solution, which it has developed since the company’s spin-out of Oxford University in 2013, involves carbon-ion cells being built into both a power pack and cordless device, so that transfer of power is direct.
Should the technology be applied to the EV market, Zap&Go can resist a number of Chinese companies seeking to control the potentially massive market: China’s market share is set to reach 70% by 2020.