NASA has shown on different occasions its interest in electric mobility and in developing technologies that facilitate the use of electric vehicles not only in space travel but also in land travel. One of them is aimed precisely at eliminating one of the handicaps that hinder the massive adoption of electric vehicles: recharging time. The American Aerospace Agency believes that it can accomplish this operation in just five minutes, thanks to the technology it is developing.
The autonomy that electric cars are capable of offering has become a secondary problem since in many cases it is above 350 real kilometers and at highway speeds. High-capacity batteries have given way to a problem that is also of concern to the industry: charging times. Today, chargers with powers of 350 kW have already been implemented that would be capable of recharging an electric car with a medium capacity battery (60-70 kWh) up to 80% in approximately 15 minutes. For that, it is necessary that the car admits these powers and that the load curve remains constant. Neither of these things is currently happening.
NASA is very interested in the development of technologies related to electric vehicles. Recently it showed the progress of its solid electrolyte battery, which has taken a giant step forward and has become the most advanced in the world. Now the Agency belonging to the US government has shown to be very interested in solving the problem of loading speed. That is why it has just announced that it is working on a technology to reduce the charging time of a battery to five minutes. Extreme cooling of the cargo system, directly derived from space technologies, is the secret to achieving this.
While details about this charging system have not come to light, it is known to be based on a dielectric liquid cooling device similar to that used for the thermal management of nuclear fission power systems. Behind this great invention there are several technological solutions, difficult to explain techniques, and which are the result of many years of study and experimentation. Its result is that the intensity of the current would rise to 1,400 amps, hence the need to implement a very powerful cooling system.
The development team at the American University of Purdue has already been able to obtain a current intensity of 2,400 A, well above what is necessary to recharge a battery in five minutes. It is an experimental solution achieved under the controlled conditions of a laboratory that, as always, leaves many aspects to improve when transferred to real conditions.
One of the first questions raised by this technology, which requires the implementation of equipment to achieve high power intensities and those that will form part of the cooling system, is its cost. A cost that will not only have to be passed on to the recharging equipment but also to the batteries that will be able to withstand these current levels.