A new cooling technique discovered by NASA scientists could vastly reduce the amount of time needed to charge electric cars.Alyte Katilius | MLive.com
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- One of the biggest concerns drivers have about switching to an electric car is the amount of time it takes to charge one. Ethernet Cable Wiring
While some public fast chargers can juice a car in about 20 minutes, many at-home chargers take several hours to get an electric vehicle back to 100%.
However, that could all change, with NASA scientists recently discovering that a new cooling technique developed for space use can also significantly reduce the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle, allowing them to charge just as quickly as you could fill up your gas tank.
A NASA blog post from earlier this week detailed how the advanced temperature control technique that was initially developed to maintain specific temperatures during future space missions can be adapted to charge an electric car in under five minutes.
“A team sponsored by NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division is developing a new technology that will not only achieve orders-of-magnitude improvement in heat transfer to enable these systems to maintain proper temperatures in space, but will also enable significant reductions in size and weight of the hardware. What’s more, this same technology may make owning an electric-powered car here on Earth easier and more feasible,” according to the post.
So how does this cooling technology allow electric cars to be charged more quickly? As you might expect, it’s a bit complicated, but here are the basics.
In order to charge a standard electric vehicle in five minutes, which has long been cited as an industry goal, charging systems must provide a current at 1,400 amperes.
Right now, fast chargers can provide roughly 520 amperes and at-home chargers provide less than 150 amperes.
The problem with ramping chargers up to the required 1,400 amperes is that it will cause the chargers to generate significantly more heat, which is where NASA’s new cooling technology comes in.
The new tech allows scientists to pump dielectric (non-electrically conducting) liquid coolant through the charging cable to capture the excess heat generated during the charging process.
The process allows fast chargers to deliver nearly five times the current of the fastest available chargers on the market, providing 2,400 amperes, well-beyond the 1,400 required to charge an electric car in five minutes.
“Application of this new technology resulted in unprecedented reduction of the time required to charge a vehicle and may remove one of the key barriers to worldwide adoption of electric vehicles,” according to the post.
RISING INTEREST IN ELECTRIC CARS
With gas prices across the country significantly higher than they were last year, more and more Americans are considering a switch to electric vehicles.
In July, AAA released the results of its latest consumer survey, finding that 25% of respondents said that they would likely buy a fully electric car for their next vehicle purchase.
Millennials were the most likely of any age group to say that they would purchase a fully electric vehicle at 30%.
High gas prices are the driving force in most consumers wanting to go electric, with 77% of those intending to switch citing saving on fuel as the primary reason for their decision.
“The increase in gas prices over the last six months has pushed consumers to consider going electric, especially for younger generations,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “They are looking for ways to save, and automakers continue to incorporate cool styling and the latest cutting-edge technology into electric vehicles, which appeal to this group.”
Though many are enthused about the prospect of switching to an electric vehicle to save money on fuel, there are still widespread concerns regarding charging accessibility and vehicle travel range.
Roughly 60% of survey respondents said they were concerned about an insufficient amount of places to charge, with 58% saying they feared running out of charge during the middle of a trip.
“The deeper issue with range anxiety is that it’s going to take more than just improving how far an electric vehicle can go to convince people to make the switch,” continued Brannon.
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