Rice researchers find inserting detours within a battery cathode improves charge/discharge rate

We have all heard the comforting bromide about our imperfections being our greatest strengths. Rice University researchers have recently proven this platitude in the context of battery charging cycles with the discovery that defects purposely inserted into the crystalline lattice of a lithium iron phosphate cathode actually cause the battery to work more, not less, efficiently. The team published its findings in the journal npj Computational Materials.

Charging a
cathode essentially means inciting phase transition from iron phosphate to
lithium iron phosphate and going from a lithium-poor to a lithium-rich surface.
Defects placed in the crystalline lattice of the cathode appear to make the charging
cycle improve by up to two orders of magnitude. What is referred to as a
“defect” simply involves placing an atom where it should not technically be on
the lattice. This means iron is seated where lithium would be expected, and
vice versa. Generally, these kind of rearranged atomic table settings known as
“antisites” spell slower lithium movement within the crystal lattice and thus
decreased battery performance. However, the Rice researchers have demonstrated
that lithium iron phosphate makes highly useful detours out of these defects,
resulting in the lithium ions connecting with the reaction boundary over a much
broader surface area. This in turn directly enhances the efficiency of the
battery cycle by allowing for more uniform lithium exposure across the cathode.

With support
from the DOE, researcher Ming Tang and colleagues have shown that spreading
defects across a cathode surface not only greatly aids in lithium insertion,
but also in reducing damage caused to a cathode when high voltage is applied in
order to get a fast charge. “An interesting prediction of the model is that
this optimal defect configuration depends on the shape of the particles,” says
Tang. “We saw that facets of a certain orientation could make the detours more
effective in transporting lithium ions. Therefore, you will want to have more
of these facets exposed on the cathode surface.” Tang envisions using this same
brand of defect optimization for the improvement of all sorts of phase-changing
batteries in the future, and cites steel and ceramics as structural materials
wherein similar experiments have shown that defects can generate beneficial
material strengths.

Sprint Power selected for UK’s Wireless Charging of Electric Taxis trial

The UK government has awarded funding to Sprint Power, an electric propulsion technology company, to demonstrate wireless charging technology for electrified taxis. Sprint Power will use the funding to develop an interface module, software, and integration kit to support wireless charging for a fleet of 10 modified LEVC TX and Nissan e-NV200 taxis that will trialed for six months in Nottingham, England.

Sprint Power is part of a consortium selected for the Wireless Charging of Electric Taxis (WiCET) trial, which will award a total of £3.4 million (about $4.4 million). Other groups selected include CENEX (Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies), Coventry University, Nottingham City Council, Shell, Parking Energy, and Transport for London.

Richie Frost, founder and CEO of Sprint Power, said, “Many taxi operators, businesses and councils are keen to make the transition to electric vehicles. Our view is that wireless charging will significantly ease this transition. As part of the project, we will work through the technical and commercial challenges, creating a framework to demonstrate the viability of inductive charging as a true long-term solution to a wireless, zero-emission future.”

McKinsey EV Survey: 400 new EVs globally by 2025 but consumer demand still unknown

McKinsey, the management consulting firm, yesterday published The road ahead for e-mobility, a major 2020 study about EV adoption. To gain its insights, researchers conducted surveys with 11,100 consumers, including 1,200 EV owners. Recent years have brought progress with the technology, the number of available vehicles, and expanding charging infrastructure. But McKinsey called consumer demand the “last big unknown” for e-mobility.

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Source: Charge Forward

Electric Mini Cooper SE review — lots of fun for not a lot of money

The new fully electric Mini, the Mini Cooper SE, hits US showrooms in March. BMW flew us down to Miami last week to drive it up and down the Florida coast, and Electrek is here to tell you whether it lives up to expectations.

The Mini Cooper SE is Mini’s first entry into the electric vehicle market…sort of. Mini made a limited-run vehicle in 2009, the Mini E, and I was one of the lucky 450 drivers in the US to have one. I drove it for two years and loved it, and it’s what got me into electric vehicles in the first place. Will the 2020 Mini Cooper SE inspire other drivers the same way the original Mini E inspired me? Let’s find out.

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Source: Charge Forward

Quick Charge Podcast: January 28, 2020

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from Electrek. Quick Charge is available now on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn and our RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.


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Source: Charge Forward

GM president on its electric future: ‘We can’t get away with vaporware’

After GM’s official dedication yesterday of its Detroit-Hamtramck plant strictly for electric cars, Electrek spoke with Mark Reuss, the company’s president. We wanted to hear directly from GM leadership about its level of commitment to quickly deliver on multi-billion-dollar, global EV plans. Here is an edited version of Reuss’s discussion with us and a small group of reporters.

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Source: Charge Forward

Take $700 off Ryobi’s 42-inch Zero Turn Electric Lawn Mower, more in today’s Green Deals

Today only, Home Depot offers the Ryobi 42-inch 75Ah Electric Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower for $3,299 shipped. That’s good for $700 off and a match of the best we’ve seen. This Ryobi riding mower reimagines your lawn cutting experience with a fully battery-powered design that can cut up to 3 acres on a single charge. Features include a 42-inch steel deck, 12-position adjustment, side or mulching discharge and it even has a USB port for charging your device. Rated 4.7/5 stars. More Green Deals below.

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Source: Charge Forward