Challenges and opportunities towards fast-charging battery materials

Abstract

Extreme fast charging, with a goal of 15 minutes recharge time, is poised to accelerate mass market adoption of electric vehicles, curb greenhouse gas emissions and, in turn, provide nations with greater energy security. However, the realization of such a goal requires research and development across multiple levels, with battery technology being a key technical barrier. The present-day high-energy lithium-ion batteries with graphite anodes and transition metal oxide cathodes in liquid electrolytes are unable to achieve the fast-charging goal without negatively affecting electrochemical performance and safety. Here we discuss the challenges and future research directions towards fast charging at the level of battery materials from mass transport, charge transfer and thermal management perspectives. Moreover, we highlight advanced characterization techniques to fundamentally understand the failure mechanisms of batteries during fast charging, which in turn would inform more rational battery designs.

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Fig. 1: Overview of the technical requirements for EV battery fast charging.
Fig. 2: Electrolyte mass transport limitations during fast charging and possible mitigation strategies.
Fig. 3: Electrode charge-transfer limitations during fast charging and some possible mitigation strategies.
Fig. 4: Battery thermal considerations during fast charging.
Fig. 5: Advanced characterization techniques to fundamentally understand the battery failure mechanisms during fast charging.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Vehicle Technologies of the US Department of Energy under the eXtreme Fast Charge Cell Evaluation of Li-ion batteries (XCEL) programme.

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Correspondence to Yi Cui.

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Liu, Y., Zhu, Y. & Cui, Y. Challenges and opportunities towards fast-charging battery materials. Nat Energy 4, 540–550 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-019-0405-3

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