Japanese Developer’s 5 Minute EV Recharging System Wins Patent

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, June 9th, 2011

One of the main drawbacks in selling the idea of an electric vehicle to the buying public is the time it takes to recharge the batteries. Of course, if you are just using the car for commuting every day, then you can get away with recharging on cheaper, off-peak power overnight.

But what if you want to take a longer trip across the country? In a gasoline or diesel-powered car, you simply pull into a petrol station, fill up the tank and you can be on your way again in just a few minutes. Electric vehicles need to be able to match that kind of turn around time.

This has been the impetus behind the search for a better charging solution by Mr. Kanno of the Japanese company Energy Use Technology Research K.K.

Having worked in the battery field for over 20 years, Mr. Kanno’s company has just received a patent for a system that allows any electric vehicle to get a full battery recharge in about 5 minutes. Up to now, specialist recharging units have done the same job in 30 minutes or so – many times longer than it would take to full up a tank of gas in an ICE car.

His breakthrough idea came when he realized that the standard method of recharging was limited by the capacity of the power cables bringing the power to the recharging unit. There was no way that this capacity could be increased, so to rely solely on the electrical grid at the moment of recharging would effectively limit the speed that this recharge could be accomplished.

However, the patented technology provides for storage of electrical power within the charger itself. The charger collects electrical power from the grid and stores it locally. Then when an EV requires a quick charge, the recharger delivers this stored power to the EV’s batteries in a high-powered burst, allowing a full charge to be completed in about 5 minutes.

Although met with initial skepticism, other companies also began researching a similar concept, but in April of this year Kanno’s company was awarded a patent for his work. He now expects working prototypes to be up and running in the next year or two with the cooperation of the major manufacturers.

Source: Yomiuri Shinbun (Japanese-language)

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