Unlike with gasoline-powered cars that can be filled up in a matter of minutes, electric vehicles can take hours to charge. While some companies think the solution is simply to switch out batteries when they’re low on juice, MIT’s Electric Vehicle Team is trying something different: constructing an electric car that charges in only 10 minutes.
The team’s project, dubbed “ElEVen”, aims to build an EV with the same performance capabilities as gas-powered cars. That means a vehicle that reaches 100 mph, goes from 0 to 60 in 9 seconds, reaches 200 miles on a single charge, and, of course, charges up in 10 minutes. The MIT team is using the body of a Mercury Milan Hybrid, a motor originally designed for an electric bus, and lithium-ion phosphate batteries from A123 Systems.
There’s just one hitch: quick-charging the team’s vehicle requires 350 kW of power. That’s enough to take down a residential power system, and most EV charging stations (i.e. Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint stations) output only 1.4 kW. And then there’s the issue of battery pricing–the car’s array costs a stinging $80,000, but the price should go down at least a little bit as li-ion battery production ramps up to accomodate the increasing number of EVs on the road.
We’ll find out if the team succeeds with its rapid charging quest by the third quarter of next year. Until then, Coulomb might want to hold off on installing its 1.4 kW stations in too many locations.