New tech ‘could charge cars in minutes’

The days of charging electric cars for hours on end could soon be over with the development of new technology that could see battery-charging times slashed to just a few minutes.

Cambridgeshire-based Augmented Optics has revealed a new polymer material that can charge an electric vehicle just as quick as you’d fill up a regular car with petrol.

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Currently, it takes between six and eight hours to recharge an EV, but the new tech – high energy density supercapacitors – would do it in minutes, meaning the electric car would be able to travel much longer distances than it can currently.

“Imagine, instead of an electric car being limited to a drive from London to Brighton, the new technology could allow the electric car to travel from London to Edinburgh without the need to recharge, but when it did recharge for this operation to take just a few minutes to perform,” the team behind the technology said.

Developed in conjunction with the universities of Surrey and Bristol, the technology was adapted from the principles used to make contact lenses.

Jim Heathcote, chief executive of Augmented Optics, said: “The test results from the new polymers suggest that extremely high energy density supercapacitors could be constructed in the very new future.

“We are now actively seeking commercial partners in order to supply our polymers and offer assistance to build these ultra high energy density storage devices.”

Augmented Optics said its material could also be used to quickly charge a range of other devices, including mobile phones and laptops.