Could new supercapacitor hold key to EV market success?

by Mark Benson on December 9, 2016

Electric vehicle batteries are changing!

Electric vehicle batteries are changing!

UK firm Augmented Optics has made a splash in the world of electric vehicles over the last few days. The company believes it has discovered a new supercapacitor which could make recharging your electric vehicle as quick as filling up with petrol. While we have heard of many similar “discoveries” over the years the company is adamant it has the potential to disrupt not only the electric car market but other battery dependent sectors.

Replacing electric vehicle battery technology

The new supercapacitor is said to be around 1000 times more efficient than existing supercapacitors and could effectively replace current battery technology. The new material, which can be moulded into any shape, has already been tested by the company with a prototype electric car due to be produced next year. The idea is that electric car users will be able to recharge their vehicles in just a matter of seconds to give journey capacity of up to 150 miles. When you bear in mind it can take hours to recharge the current crop of electric vehicle batteries this would be a massive step forward.

What are supercapacitors?

It may surprise many to learn that supercapacitors are already used in electric buses in China although some of these vehicles need to be recharged every 3 miles. This new material would allow energy to be stored over a far greater period with immediate recharging. This would have a significant impact upon not only the recharging process but also reduced production costs. The fact that the company which has discovered this new material plans to have a prototype available next year would suggest it is not a million miles away from hitting the market.

Is this a potential game changer?

The idea of recharging your electric vehicle within a matter of seconds is the Holy Grail for the electric vehicle market. We have seen similar technological advances in years gone by which have fallen by the wayside and were never heard of again. The fact that Augmented Optics has gone public with its new technology suggests an air of confidence and the sector will be awaiting developments next year.

Over the last 20 years or so we have seen significant progress in electric car technology while battery technology has lagged behind. The US government has invested billions of dollars into the battery technology market, as have other governments around the world, but so far the perfect solution has yet to materialise. It may be a little too soon to call the end of this technology race to create a new type of electric vehicle battery but it does look as though significant progress is being made.

Conclusion

We can talk about electric car technology, prices and reliability but for many people it is the simple act of recharging your electric car which is of most concern. Can you imagine recharging your future electric vehicle in just a matter of seconds as you would at the petrol pump today? While we await further details, the removal of traditional battery packs might also suggest a reduction in overall weight (electric car batteries are extremely heavy) which could in itself increase efficiency. As we hover on the edge of a major breakthrough, all eyes are on Augmented Optics!

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