Israel’s StoreDot is making major headway in its bid to charge up devices in a matter of minutes with new battery technology.
The Herzliya-based start-up’s lithium-ion battery on Tuesday managed to recharge an electric scooter from Spanish firm Torrot in just five minutes.
It completed the demonstration alongside oil major BP, a strategic backer of the company. The companies claim this is the first time an electric two-wheeler has been charged in such a short amount of time.
“What we are demonstrating with the scooter is the capability of the technology,” Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot’s CEO, told CNBC in an interview Tuesday.
Myersdorf added it’s the first time the company has showed off five-minute charging with a battery pack containing so many cells — this one contains 168 in total.
In addition to BP, StoreDot also counts Mercedes owner Daimler and tech giant Samsung as investors. It previously attracted headlines with its cell phone battery which, again, boasts five-minute charging.
“We are developing a new generation of lithium-ion batteries,” said Myersdorf. “More specifically, we are eliminating the use of graphite in the battery.”
The company’s chief explained that the reason behind taking graphite out of the equation is that the mineral doesn’t work as well at charging devices quickly.
Instead, the firm is using materials like tin, germanium and silicon in combination with organic compounds that it claims are a better solution for lithium-ion batteries than the cells used in most consumer electronics currently.
StoreDot finds itself in a heated race with a multitude of companies looking to address the problem of slow recharging times for electric vehicles.
Porsche recently unveiled an electric car that can add 60 miles of range from a four-minute charge, while start-ups including Sila Nanotechnologies and QuantumScape are also trying to shake up the battery market.
StoreDot’s latest demo is the “first step” toward eventually charging electric cars and even trucks at super-fast speeds, Myersdorf said. It’s looking to demo five-minute charging with Mercedes cars in a year’s time.
The firm expects five-minute smartphone and power bank charging to be available in the second half of 2020, while fast charging for electric cars likely won’t come onto the market until 2023, StoreDot’s boss said.
It’s also looking to set up a battery-making plant similar to Tesla’s Gigafactory, called OneGiga. Myserdorf said StoreDot is currently in talks with U.S. authorities to work out an ideal location for the facility.
Companies like BP and Daimler have had to wake up to the slow-burning shift toward electrification, as global pressure to prioritize clean energy over fossil fuels ramps up amid concerns over climate change.
“Electric vehicles will play a major role in the future of road transport, and that’s why BP is investing in technology and infrastructure,” said Jon Salked, technology director at BP’s advanced mobility unit.
“Electrification presents exciting opportunities for businesses like BP and we see possibilities to expand and complement our business offerings.”