One of the drawbacks of current (if you will) electric cars is the rather long time it takes to charge their batteries. We found with the Leaf that as long as you adapt your lifestyle to it a bit, it’s not a problem, but the unexpected happens and it would suck to be at low charge when you suddenly need to get to the hospital, or what have you. Quick-charge solutions are out there, but few are really practical and many still take hours to reach full charge. Nissan says they’ve created one, however, that could charge a car in only ten minutes.
It’s a collaboration with Kansai University in Japan, and the technology breakthrough has to do with the electrode material used, though it’s not clear where in the process the new vanadium oxide and tungsten oxide electrodes are being implemented.
The ten-minute charge uses a new compact charge station that costs less than half what the previous quick charger did, and could also be used on other automakers’ vehicles. Still, at around a million yen (~$13,000), it’s more suited to institutional use. Gas stations, parking lots, that sort of thing. It’s bad enough already that you have to get a 220V adapter in order to get your Leaf back on the road in good time.
The advanced processes and materials used mean that this isn’t likely to be found at your local shop any time soon, though. And of course there aren’t really enough electric vehicles out there to make this a priority just yet. But by doing the theoretical work now, Nissan can be ready with a product when the time is right.
[via SlashGear; image: AFP/Yoshikazu Tsuno]