Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have developed a lithium-ion battery that could charge electric vehicles (EV) within ten minutes.

Charging at high temperatures, the new lithium ion-battery is capable of adding 200 – 300 miles of driving range to an EV.

Electric cars currently take more than an hour to reach full charge.

Pennsylvania State University professor Chao-Yang Wang said: “If we have a ubiquitous fast-charging infrastructure on the roadside, drivers need no longer to worry about the cruise range. After driving 200 – 300 miles per charge, one can pick up another 200 – 300 miles by charging for ten minutes.”

Existing lithium-ion batteries last for approximately 60 charging cycles. The new, quick charging process developed by the research team helps the battery to last longer, reaching around 2,500 charges.

Regular lithium batteries are charged and discharged at the same temperature.

The researchers aim to solve the lithium plating issue by first charging the battery at a high temperature of 60°C (140°F) for a few minutes and then discharging it at a cooler temperature.

Metallic lithium tends to forms spikes around the anode when batteries are charged at low temperatures.

To avoid this problem, lithium ions are kept at temperatures of about 60°C (140°F), allowing ions to move fast enough.

Keeping a battery too hot for a long time can also cause issues as active materials react with the electrolyte, forming passive surface films, which in turn cause high resistance.

The team developed a battery that features a thin nickel foil with a self-heating structure. When the battery is heated to 60°C and cooled to room temperature, the researchers were able to charge to 80% in ten minutes without causing any battery damage.

Wang added: “In addition to fast charging, this design allows us to limit the battery’s exposure time to the elevated charge temperature, thus generating a very long cycle life.

“The key is to realise rapid heating; otherwise, the battery will stay at elevated temperatures for too long, causing severe degradation.”