the british company Allotrope Energy has developed a lithium-carbon battery for electric mopeds and scooters that can be recharged in just 90 seconds, thanks to the high specific power provided by this material. This new battery will begin to be marketed, being supplied to manufacturers by Mahle Powertrain, one of the most recognized suppliers in both the two and four wheel industry.
The high charging speed achieved with these batteries is the result of the high lithium-carbon specific powerwhich can exceed 15kw/kgaccording to Allotrope, which is 33% more than what is achieved with a conventional lithium battery, which reaches a maximum of 10 kW/kg.
In an interview conducted by Canary Media, Peter EIlson, Technical Director of Allotrope, explains that in 2014, a company from the German automotive industry joined the Allotrope team, which was then focused on the development of capacitors, in search of a new battery technology. “We realized that the battery they were demanding was not an ultracapacitor or a lithium-ion battery, but a strange combination of the two,” adds Wilson.
Then the engineers realized that the The key to this technology lies in the development of non-porous carbon which has traditionally been categorized as a material with supercapacitor properties. “When we did the basic math of why this battery hadn’t been commercialized, it became clear that the problem was carbon. We were a company specializing in this material, and as a result, we put all the pieces together.”
Beyond its high specific potency, another advantage of lithium-carbon chemistry is that does not use nickel or cobalt, two items that pose supply chain problems for manufacturers of conventional lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt in particular has limited availability. “You couldn’t electrify every car in the world with cobalt, we just don’t have enough,” says Wilson.
Lithium-carbon is not suitable for all applications
Lithium-carbon is well suited to electric mopeds and scooters because they are vehicles with relatively simple load requirements. It’s fairly easy to build a lithium-carbon battery to replace the lead-acid or iron-phosphate batteries used today, Wilson says.
In theory, the battery could be fully charged in just 60 seconds. The 90-second charge time is due to charging infrastructure limitations rather than the battery. “The reason the prototype charges in 90 seconds is because Mahle designed it in such a way that a ‘charge buffer’ system is included: the charger has a battery inside it and the battery discharges its energy into the moped.” Wilson explains.
For larger batteriesthose used in electric cars, there is not enough capacity in the power grid to deal with lithium-carbon batteries. That’s why this chemistry is unlikely to be expanded to larger vehicles any time soon. Wilson thinks it would make more sense for electric cars to use hybrid batteries made up of lithium-ion cells and ultracapacitor systems that can be charged in five minutes using 350 kW charging points.
Allotrope Energy’s lithium-carbon battery it’s not a lab experiment. They are expected to be available on production vehicles before the end of this year. supplied by Mahle. If the charging times of electric vehicles can be shortened significantly, one of the main drawbacks that users find with this technology will be eliminated.
Lithium carbonate beyond mopeds and scooters
In addition to mopeds and scooters, lithium-carbon batteries have other potential applications. Allotrope is in talks with the charging station operators for the creation of shock absorbers backed by this type of batteries for both land electric vehicles and charging systems located on the docks of ports for boats. They could also be used for shorten the charging time of electric vehicles of last mile delivery and autonomous work vehiclessuch as automated forklift trucks.