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Summary:

Dutch startup Epyon says it can charge the battery of an electric vehicle in 10 minutes — a mere fraction of the 8-10 hours it can take to charge an electric car in a standard outlet. The two-year-old company’s charging technology, which was developed at the […]

Dutch startup Epyon says it can charge the battery of an electric vehicle in 10 minutes — a mere fraction of the 8-10 hours it can take to charge an electric car in a standard outlet. The two-year-old company’s charging technology, which was developed at the Delft University of Technology, isn’t available yet, but Epyon just raised funding from Canadian VCs Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and European sister firm, SET Venture Partners, to help it move closer to production.

Chrysalix’s managing director, Richard MacKellar, tells us that Epyon’s charging technology will likely first land in large commercial installations, such as an airport with a large fleet of electric vehicles that need to be constantly kept charged. Then in the future MacKellar thinks the startup can try to conquer the consumer, mainstream world. We can imagine a select group of consumers that would be willing to pay extra for a super-fast charging station at home. Particularly if utilities partner with the firm to offer incentives to help split the bill.

We’re not entirely clear on the ins and outs of Epyon’s technology, but the company uses circuitry design, smart software and an energy storage medium and supercapacitors to produce the fast charge. MacKellar explains it as an intelligent system that analyzes each battery cell (instead of the entire battery) and determines how much charge each cell needs.

The technology behind the speedy charge-up is only being built to work with lithium-ion and lithium-phosphate batteries — what most believe will one day be the dominant form of electric vehicle battery tech. And as MacKellar notes, lithium ion and lithium phosphate batteries lend themselves particularly well to the company’s intelligent charging system.

Epyon’s biggest barriers, we feel, are the infrastructure needed to install these chargers and the cost of installation. MacKellar didn’t have any details on the cost, but if it’s too high, it has a very small chance of ever landing in consumer homes. It’s hard to beat a free plug.

With VC money, Epyon is looking to reach two goals: first, work with utilities to do installation demos; second, partner with a leading battery company (A123?). After hearing the company’s pitch, we immediately thought, if we can charge existing batteries so fast, what happens to Project Better Place? Why would we need to swap them out? MacKellar says he sees room for both solutions (hey, they’re nice up there in Canada).

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By Katie Fehrenbacher
  1. I see a bigger role for this rather than just a “select group of consumers.” If you can charge a car battery in 10 minutes, why wouldn’t gas stations install them for plug-in hybrids or electric cars? It takes nearly as long to fill a talk with gas. This could greatly extend the range of such vehicles.

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  2. I am skeptical that this technology would work, but even if it does, the cost of battery-only vehicles is so great that it’s doubtful that anything positive willl result. Charging a car’s battery in 10 minutes requires an enormous amount of power – about 6 houses pooling every last bit of their entire capacity,
    using juice for nothing else. Those who repeat these 10 minute recharging claims simply are ignorant of what’s involved, since they know zilch about electricity.

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    1. douche. Cointelpro. Petroleum Employee. You are at least 2 on this list. How many aliases do you have and why multiple posts under these aliases? How much does someone like yourself make to attempt to fool people. Eletric energy is safer, how about that. How important is safety to you or the people that support you? Or to any petroleum employee? How abput the environment? Give a crap about that? Nevermind, you truly are a tool.

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  3. kerry bradshaw Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Unfortunately fast recharging still doesn’t make li ion batteries affordable.

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  4. [...] 10 minute electric car charging Epyon: 10-Minute Electric Car Charging « Earth2Tech [...]

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  5. The only time you need battery swap with Better Place is when you drive on the freeway and want to continue beyond the battery range. Given the two options of swapping the battery in 1 minute or fast charging (as if the grid can take it….) in 10 minutes, every 100 or so miles, what would the average consumer want?

    Better will have fast charge, used mostly for special fleets too…

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  6. King George Sunday, June 22, 2008

    Above comments by “tom c gray” and “kerry bradshaw” are actually from the same person. Usually he comments under the name Kent Beuchert and he is the author of literally thousands of cranky anti-electric car comments across these here internets. Google is your friend.

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  7. greensolutions Sunday, June 22, 2008

    King George,

    How do you know tom c gray and kerry bradshaw are the same person and that he usually comments under the name Kent Beuchert? I don’t understand how a Google search could confirm this.

    Tom C Gray,

    The article says that this company intends to use some kind of energy storage technology, meaning that their device has a lower instantaneous requirement over a longer period of time and then dumps it all into the vehicle battery in the course of 10 minutes. However, by solving that problem, they’ve created another problem–degraded well-to-wheel efficiency. If energy must be transfered into and out of their energy storage medium before it charges the car’s battery, there’s a certain amount of energy lost in the process, thus lowering the overall efficiency of the vehicle. This is really important and shouldn’t be overlooked in an era of energy decline. Having said that, the vehicle would still have a higher well-to-wheel efficiency than the most efficient available gas or diesel vehicle… also, if the system is cheap enough, it might be a good idea for people who are really going to need that fast charge here and there, as long as their mainstay is the slow, overnight charge. Also, it would be best if the Epyon device draws power slowly overnight, thus smoothing troughs in the grid, increasing overall grid efficiency and decreasing costs to the vehicle owner.

    Having said that, a fast charge is absolutely not a requirement for the success of electric vehicles since the vast majority of round trips are 50 miles or less and people will largely use slow, overnight charging. The main EV R&D focus now should be on getting battery costs down and reducing vehicle weight without compromising safety, quality, performance or cost. Every time gas prices go up, electric vehicles become more economical. In some parts of the world with double the US gas prices, they’re already at parity with gas or diesel vehicles on a cash-flow basis.

    Despite my almost fetish-level of interest in electric propulsion, I feel the need to point out an extremely important point: Electric vehicles are A solution but not THE solution. They are a few rungs down the priority ladder after these much higher priorities, which are cheaper and also have the side effect of an increase in quality of life:

    Re-localization of our economy: Food and water and other goods sourced, used and recycled locally–eliminating the need for transport as much as possible.

    Intelligent city planning, which reduces the need to travel in the first place and encourages walking and bicycling.

    Mass transit, where appropriate

    Reviving our pathetic rail system

    Let’s not forget that roads require an enormous amount of energy to build and maintain. I don’t know what the exact numbers are, but given the fact that roads are often literally made of petroleum and involve the use of steel, and concrete (both energy-intensive materials) and gravel, you can be sure that it is a sh*tload of embodied energy on top of the energy used to transport and operate heavy equipment for road construction and maintenance. Because of that maintenance requirement, a road that’s just sitting there uses a certain number of gallons per mile, more or less depending on how much it’s used and what kind of vehicles are using it.
    Given that much of our existing highway infrastructure is now in disrepair, we have a great opportunity to get rid of a lot of it instead of rebuilding it at an enormous environmental and financial cost to society.

    Let’s keep all this in mind when we’re discussing electric vehicles, shall we?

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  8. [...] [Source: Clean Break / Earth2Tech] [...]

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  9. think of what this could do if install at car hop resturants like Sonics. they have all that surface area covering cars sothey could install solar to help offset use of this device installed so when you pull in,you plug in, by the time your order is made, cooked,eaten your car has a FULL charge…..

    or installing this in parking garages/lots and pay like a parking meter, so we could eventually discontinue the need of a petrol startion in favor of these (eventually cheaper) devices as they can be places ANYWHERE a car can be parked that has access to some form of energy wether it be city power grid or remotely by wind, solar,geothermal,hydro,etc

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  10. But is in it some electric vehicle experts afraid that recharging time could be electric vehicles’ Achilles heel, Epyon’s minutes-only “supercharger” could gain instant acceptance when plug-in and all-electric vehicles start hitting the road in two to three years.

    According to the company’s web site, “Epyon wants to become a leader in providing ultra fast charging solutions for electric vehicles used in critical business processes to enable clean and reliable electric transportation in a 24-7 economy.”

    Well goodluck Epyon.

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