Packed with progress: Harvard's new technology for solid state batteries means that EVs could be charged in a mere 10-20 minutes, with batteries that last for 10,000 cycles | Photo:

Harvard achieves major breakthrough in long range, solid-state li-ion batteries

Researchers at Harvard University reported a major breakthrough in solid-state li-ion batteries, which would enable them to be recharged for up to 10,000 cycles at high current density. The breakthrough very nearly contains the inherent issue of dendrite formation in commercial, liquid electrolyte li-ion batteries by using a series of solid state layers with varying stabilities between the two electrodes. The layers stop the dendrites from piercing the barrier between the two electrodes — which can cause the batteries to short and catch fire. 

If and when the new technology reaches commercial production, it could also boost the life of electric cars to 10 – 15 years (the same as a typical gasoline car) and the high current density would enable the batteries to be recharged in as little as 10 – 20 minutes. 

Ex-NASA scientist developing wireless EV charging built into the road 

An ex-NASA scientist and his team from Cornell University are developing a wireless EV charging system that can charge vehicles that simply drive along a stretch of road, unlike contemporary charging where a vehicle must be plugged into a charge point. The technology uses an active variable reactance (AVR) filter, which couples with a reactive metal under an EVs’ body to create an oscillating energy field and a high-frequency current. The energy for the section on or above the road will come from conventional (fossil and/or renewable) power sources. 

However, so far the technology is aimed to be deployed only along high-density vehicle lanes (such as carpool lanes), and it may not generate a current strong enough for a car to be recharged to appropriate levels quickly — unless the car drove along such a stretch all day. 

India developing ultra low-cost charging points for electric scooters and rickshaws 

The government of India is reportedly working to develop ultra low-cost charging points for electric two- and three-wheelers, and the units — at ₹3,500 each — will be capable of being set up anywhere that has access to a standard, 220V 15A single phase line. Termed the Low-Cost AC Chargepoint (LAC), the chargers will allow the vehicles to plug in and draw up to 3kW of power and the users will be able to pay via their smartphones’ bluetooth connection. The standards for the LAC will eventually be ratified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), but the project is the joint effort between several auto manufacturers, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the NITI Aayog. 

Michelin to launch tires specially developed for EVs

Global tire manufacturer Michelin is slated to release two newly developed tires in China, which it says have been specially formulated for use with EVs. Called e.PRIMACY and Pilot Sport EV, the tires are designed to resist the generally heavier weight of electric vehicles (because of their battery packs) and wear out slower than regular tires. They will also feature lower rolling resistance and an enhanced ability to handle heavy torque (which is characteristic of most high-performance EVs), and could thus add up to 7% in extra driving range for the vehicles. 

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