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Scientists develop liquid battery to speed up EV charging

John Wood ·
electric car charging
The charge in liquid batteries could be topped up in seconds
  (Photo:  )

Scottish scientists have developed a liquid battery for electric cars which could be charged in seconds by filling it up at a service station.

A team at the University of Glasgow have developed a prototype that uses a metal oxide – described by researchers as an “exotic rust” – that can be charged with electricity when added to water.

Professor Lee Cronin, who is part of the research team, said the liquid battery could remove the lengthy re-charging period for conventional batteries.

He told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “This will overcome a big kind of cultural inertia – you can get instant refuel in the same way, with no change to your behaviour now.

"Because it's a liquid it would just work as normal using the same infrastructure.

"It will certainly be a game changer if we can make sure that the prototype scales as we expect."

Drivers would remove the spent liquid using a withdrawal nozzle at the pump, and then use a second nozzle to refill the battery with fresh liquid from the pump.

The Glasgow team said the liquid would provide the same range of miles as conventional fossil fuel.

And Professor Cronin said his liquid battery did not age in the same way as current electric systems.

He also said their capacity – the amount of charge they can carry – was higher.

A small prototype is being enlarged at present – and everything seems to be going well, according to researchers.

Prof Cronin said: “If you are going to shift to electric cars, recharge time seems to be an almost unstoppable barrier because you are going to have to plan – even with a super-charger – a half-hour to 45-minute wait.

“And then there's the anxiety of whether you have got enough charging stations.

“I can see a situation where you would have petrol and liquid battery co-existing for a while.”

The research is funded by the University of Glasgow, the European Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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