[Sept. 30, 2023: Staff Writer, The Brighter Side of News]
Researchers may have found the key to address a challenge haunting EV enthusiasts globally – the quest for lightning-fast charging. (CREDIT: SIMON SKAFAR/GETTY IMAGES)
In a world where the electric vehicle (EV) industry is booming, India is making its mark yet again. A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) may have found the key to address a challenge haunting EV enthusiasts globally – the quest for lightning-fast charging.
According to a recent report by IEEE Spectrum, the team is experimenting with a universal charger with an incredible capacity to energize 120- to 900-volt batteries. Such a tool can be transformative, especially when considering Statista's projection of a staggering 77 million EVs zipping around by 2025.
For perspective, most popular EVs in today's market, like the Nissan Leaf, function on a voltage range of 240 to 450. But the winds of change bring whispers of batteries operating at towering voltages of 600 to 800 and even more.
Deepak Ronanki, Assistant Professor at IIT Madras and one of the brains behind this innovation, stated, “However, charging these high-voltage batteries with existing chargers degrades the efficiency, due to operating at twice the rated voltage.”
The emphasis on voltage isn't mere technical jargon. It has practical implications for everyday EV users. To put things in context, the U.S. Transportation Department highlighted that a 120-volt EV takes several hours to charge, usually at the comfort of one's home.
However, it's not the most efficient, generating just a few miles per every hour of charge. In stark contrast, a direct current, fast-charging system, which ranges from 400 to 1,000 volts, can deliver up to 240 miles in under an hour, predominantly at public stations.
With the EV industry's trajectory heading skyward, certain innovations promise over 150 miles with mere minutes of charging.
Universal charger that could revolutionize how we drive. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)
A Two-Stage Charging Marvel
Ronanki, alongside other dedicated professionals at IIT Madras, envisages a future where charging stations aren’t limited to catering for specific voltages. The technological marvel they're working on operates on a two-fold mechanism, aptly termed “boost-buck.” The ingenuity lies in the charger’s ability to calibrate - by either boosting or bucking the charge to accommodate any battery requirement between 120 to 900 volts.
Furthermore, there's promising news on the safety front. Ronanki and colleague Harish Karneddi have rigorously tested their charger within the specified voltage spectrum and reported a phenomenal efficiency rate exceeding 94%.
Harish Karneddi. (CREDIT: Indian Institute of Technology Madras)
Envisioning a future of flexibility and preparedness, Ronanki added, “The charger could be used as a portable unit — essentially like an emergency kit — in case of a vehicle breakdown or deep discharge of the battery pack.”
The Path Ahead: Expanding Horizons
While the groundwork has been laid, the IIT Madras team is far from complacent. Their immediate goals include finalizing patents and collaborating with other key players in the EV industry to make this technology universally accessible. Moreover, the researchers are not just aiming at high-voltage vehicles. They're also venturing into optimizing their device for the burgeoning market of lower-voltage vehicles like electric bikes, scooters, and compact cars.
Researchers venture into optimizing their device for the burgeoning market of lower-voltage vehicles like electric bikes, scooters, and compact cars. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)
In Ronanki’s words, “We are currently working on improving the charger efficiency in this voltage operating region.”
As the electric vehicle revolution rages on, with advancements emerging almost every day, the efforts of IIT Madras stand as a testament to India's significant contributions to shaping the future of green transportation. The world watches with bated breath, ready to embrace a future where EV charging is no longer a cumbersome chore but a lightning-fast experience.
For more green news stories check out our Green Impact section at The Brighter Side of News.
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