(DGIwire) – In April 2018, China’s New Energy Vehicle mandate went into effect. As noted in a recent article on the World Economic Forum’s website, this was part of the country’s plan to sell 4.6 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2020 and ban cars with traditional internal combustion engines over the long term. China is not alone in aiming to boost the share of EVs on its roads. Within hours after the mandate’s original announcement, General Motors and Ford had both unveiled major EV initiatives, with GM offering plans for 20 new electric models by 2030.
As the article went on to note, in the past few years, no less than 20 automakers and 20 countries have set targets for EVs. There are more than twice the number of EVs now as there were in 2015 and six times as many as in 2013; as of September 2018, there were more than four million in use around the world.
Additionally, in 2018 the UK announced its own “Road to Zero Strategy,” focused on its ambition for at least 50 percent of new car sales to be ultra low emission by the year 2030. To this end, the UK government intends to take steps to enable a massive rollout of infrastructure to support the EV revolution.
“The strong worldwide push toward widescale adoption of EVs is commendable for many reasons, but the logistical hurdles it entails must be dealt with before it can be realized fully,” says Stephen Voller, CEO of ZapGo Ltd, the developer of Carbon-Ion (C-Ion®) cells, a fast-charging and safe alternative to lithium-ion batteries. “Prime among these are the need to ensure that EV owners can recharge their vehicles in as little as the five minutes required by conventional gas-powered vehicles, rather than the hours it can require today.”
A standard residential wall socket delivers 3kW of energy per hour, and if used to charge a standard electric car battery (100kWh) would take about 33 hours to charge fully; a van would still take a week and a truck a whole month to fully charge at that rate. Although street chargers available today can deliver faster charging (30kW), these still require four hours to charge an electric car. Even with 120kW chargers, it takes about an hour to charge an electric car—while the most cutting-edge chargers today, announced by Electrify America in the U.S. and Ionity in Europe, deliver 350kW.
Lithium-ion batteries today can’t handle a 350kW charge rate, and even if they could, it still leaves people far from the goal of a five-minute recharge for a car, says Voller. What is needed for that is a recharge rate of 1 MW, which can be made possible with innovative materials such as C-Ion.
In Voller’s view, a promising application for ZapGo’s C-Ion cell is for it to be used effectively like a battery charger. Indeed, one of ZapGo’s initiatives involves ensuring a very high rate of DC charging of battery electric vehicles, where the electric grid can be buffered.
According to Voller, the way this works is that filling stations want to offer very high-speed charging. To avoid digging up streets, the grid can be buffered by putting C-Ion storage into the filling station site that is filled at standard electricity rates at night when off-peak rates are in effect. When vehicles turn up for charging, they can charge very quickly because ZapGo’s cells discharge rapidly.
“Only when the time required for recharging has been sufficiently reduced will the global EV revolution be able to achieve its fullest potential,” adds Voller.