NASA hypes cooling system that could allow 5-minute charge times for electric vehicles

"Before electric cars can become widely used, certain challenges must be overcome."

Updated: October 12, 2022 - 9:17pm

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has suggested that a cooling system currently in development could drastically reduce lengthy charging times for electric vehicles and make them more palatable to the open market.

"A team sponsored by NASA's Biological and Physical Sciences Division is developing a new technology that will not only achieve orders-of-magnitude improvement in heat transfer to enable these systems to maintain proper temperatures in space, but will also enable significant reductions in size and weight of the hardware," the agency posted.

The group, headed by a Purdue University professor, has come up with a "subcool flow boiling" approach that removes heat from critical systems that, if applied to more conventional chargers, could allow the production of currents at up to 2,400 amperes which would in turn facilitate considerably shorter charge times than those even the most advanced of the currently available chargers can boast.

In the blog post, the author suggested that the technology "may make owning an electric-powered car here on Earth easier and more feasible."

"Before electric cars can become widely used, certain challenges must be overcome," the post continued. "First, a network of charging stations must be deployed along highways and roads to enable charging of electric vehicles. Second, the time required to charge a vehicle must be reduced."

"Currently, charging times vary widely, from 20 minutes at a station alongside a roadway to hours using an at-home charging station," it went on. "Lengthy charging times and charger location are both cited as major concerns of people who are considering electric vehicle ownership."

Top chargers on the market currently boast currents of up to 520 amperes, making the hypothetical 2,400 ampere chargers about 4.6 times as fast, according to The Hill. 

The Biden administration has prioritized transitioning to electric vehicles as part of its climate agenda. As part of a larger package earlier this year, Democrats passed an electric vehicle tax credit of $7,500 to incentivize consumers to opt for the emissions-free offerings. Also this year, California announced it would require the gradual phasing out of fossil-fueled cars, to be completed by 2035.