New battery tech is announced that could finally make electric the standard for hire cars and rental vans.
Every week, it seems there’s another story about the potential of electric vehicles. We’ve all read predictions of increased range and battery power, but despite a gradual increase, the big leap that could finally open electric up as a possibility for everyone has always seemed a few years away. But not anymore.
Say goodbye to overnight charging. Wave farewell to 100 mile (if you’re lucky) ranges, because scientists at Pennsylvania State University have discovered a way of charging a car battery in just 10 minutes to get a range of 200-300 miles.
The secret lies in heat. Traditionally, if you’ve wanted to charge a battery fast, you’ve needed to find a way of avoiding damaging it. Heat is one way of doing that, but too much heat for too long can also be damaging. So the scientists worked out a way of heating the battery to 60°C for just long enough to charge the battery, then cooling it again fast.
The result is a battery that charges in 10 minutes, four times faster than even the fastest supercharging Tesla on the market (the S), with a range that’s impressively close to the Tesla’s industry-leading 370 miles.
“If we have a ubiquitous fast-charging infrastructure on the roadside,” Dr Chao-Yang Wang told The Guardian, “drivers need no longer to worry about the cruise range.”
Transforming the rental car
The technology isn’t ready for rollout yet. Battery degradation remains a worry and there’s much testing still to be done. But these advances remain immensely exciting, and especially so for car and van rental companies like ours.
Whilst we do hire some electric vehicles, the limited range and charging time have to date made wholesale change impractical. As our customers expect ever greener solutions, we’re eager to offer a genuine replacement for the traditional diesel van hire, but the technology has never quite been there.
Now, it appears to have taken one big step closer. And that’s great news for environmentally-minded vehicle rental companies. And great news for everyone else too.