Overcoming a major issue in battery technology
There are many barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles, from the cost of EVs to public scepticism. Even so, global plug-in vehicle sales were 42 per cent higher in 2016 than in 2015, and by the end of last year there were over 2 million EVs (including hybrids) on the road. If this trend is to continue, companies need to find tangible solutions to the remaining obstacles – one of which being the time it takes to charge a vehicle. Even Tesla’s SuperCharger stations take 75 minutes to charge a car from zero to full. In the grand scheme of things, this is impressive – but it’s still an inconvenience which could discourage potential consumers. Outside of the automotive industry, insufficient power capacity is an obstacle which plagues all sectors. However, there’s a new player in the battery game. Enter StoreDot, an Israeli startup with $66 million in funding and the technology to charge an EV in just five minutes.
FlashBattery and superfast charging
Dr. Doron Myersdorf, co-founder and CEO of StoreDot, believes that fast charging is the ‘critical missing link’ in making electric vehicles ubiquitous. This is why the company is so focused on the speed of battery charging, and their efforts have clearly paid off. Their FlashBattery, which combines layers of nanomaterials and organic compounds, delivers a whopping 300 miles per five minute charge. StoreDot also places massive emphasis on safety, and after Tesla’s 2013 mishap it’s not hard to see why. The automotive firm faced serious backlash after a number of Model S cars caught fire, leading to a public apology and a drop in share prices. StoreDot is adamant that their batteries are much safer than those currently used in electric vehicles due to a higher combustion temperature.
It isn’t just electric powered vehicles that will be impacted. In 2016, StoreDot demonstrated a smartphone powered by FlashBattery that could absorb a day’s worth of charging in one minute. Improvements in battery technology are now becoming a regular occurrence, especially as the realisation that traditional lithium ion batteries are no longer sustainable begins to sink in. StoreDot’s product will be available within the next few years, joining an extensive number of alternative innovations including the lithium nitrogen (Li-N2) battery. The only difference is that the FlashBattery can already store more power than the industry leading lithium ion option, making it a formidable competitor.
How disruptive is the FlashBattery?
StoreDot’s superfast electric power will obviously have a massive effect on the automotive industry by addressing one of the previously unsolved issues with EVs. However, in a survey of over 200 EV professionals, only five per cent of respondents saw charge time as the main barrier to success in the consumer market. Future EVs may well come with the FlashBattery, but the disruption stretches way beyond automotive. At the moment, the FlashBattery focuses on consumer electronics, particularly personal devices. According to their website, StoreDot’s solution is compatible with smartphones, wearables, tablets and laptops. What’s more, the charging is so ridiculously efficient that whole households and even offices only need one charger to power all of their personal devices. This is going to change the entire way we think about personal devices, and will free us from the confines of battery saving mode for good. Improved battery tech will impact power generation on a mass scale, theoretically allowing us to gradually convert to pollutant free electricity. The sheer capacity of the FlashBattery could also be vital in facilitating the rise of renewables, which has been hindered by storage difficulties.
As confident as their CEO may be, StoreDot’s battery isn’t going to solve electric vehicle adoption. In truth, people won’t flock to their nearest EV dealer simply because cars can be charged at a quicker rate. Nonetheless, StoreDot’s technology is another reminder that electric power will fuel the future. It also signals a leap forward in battery tech that will implicate industries across the board, as well as consumer expectations of their personal devices. Disruptive innovations are becoming all the more impactful now that we have the business model enablers to encourage them, and batteries are undoubtedly one of the most important technologies under development. The importance of StoreDot’s superfast solution lies in successfully removing one of the key limitations of battery power. In spite of cynics, it looks like Moore’s Law will keep trundling on.
Is your business limited by insufficient battery capacity? Will StoreDot revolutionise the way we charge our personal devices? What other alternative battery solutions have the potential to replace Li-N2? Share your thoughts and opinions.