Engineering 101

Super-Fast EV Charging—10 Minutes, No Damage

Let’s face it; charging an EV takes more than a little time. Drivers want to charge and go quickly, but with current technology, speeding up the process can cause damage.

Now, scientists have designed super-fast charging methods for different types of EV batteries. They can charge in 10 minutes or less without harm.

One solution is to tailor the charging protocol to optimize speed while avoiding damage. But, with the many different types of battery designs currently used—not an easy task. Doing so would require vast amounts of data on how different charging methods affect each battery type’s lifetime, efficiency, and safety.

Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory are using machine learning techniques that incorporate charging data to create unique charging protocols. The scientists trained the machine learning analysis to predict lifetimes and how different designs would eventually fail. They then fed those results back into the algorithm to identify new charging protocols, which they tested on actual batteries.

Going from a nearly dead battery to one at 90% power in only 10 minutes is a far cry from current methods. The advantage of the machine learning model is that it ties the protocols to the physics of what is actually happening in a battery.

The research team plans to use their findings to develop better charging methods and to help design new lithium-ion batteries optimized for fast charging. The ultimate goal is for the batteries to tell the charging station the best way to power them up quickly and safely.

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