The Energy Department (DOE) is making $19 million available to support 12 new cost-shared research projects focused on batteries and vehicle electrification technologies to enable extreme-fast charging. The projects are focused on developing electric vehicle systems that can recharge rapidly at high power levels, decreasing typical charge times to 15 minutes or less using a connector or wireless fast charging system.

Recharging current electric vehicle (EV) batteries takes much longer than refueling the average liquid-fueled internal combustion vehicle. Speeding up the recharge time could level the playing field between electric and gasoline automobiles, DOE says. According to the department, the selected projects will help advance DOE’s research on batteries and electrification aimed at reducing battery-pack cost to under $100 per kilowatt-hour, increasing range to over 300 miles, and charging in under 15 minutes or less by 2028.

Currently, it takes around eight hours for an EV to charge to full battery using the typical 7 kilowatt (kW) home-charging system. Slower charge rates are required to allow the lithium-ions to penetrate to the deepest portions of the active material on the electrode. Charging at too high a rate runs the risk of lithium plating, increased battery temperature and other detrimental side chemical reactions which decrease life and performance characteristics of the batteries. 

Nine of the selected battery projects focus on advanced anodes, electrolytes, and battery cell designs that can be charged rapidly - in less than 10 minutes - while still maintaining performance over the 10-year life goal. Three selected electrification projects will develop and verify electric drive systems and infrastructure for electric vehicle extreme-fast charging. Researchers aim to increase charging power levels up to 400 kW and reduce charging times to 15 minutes or less.