MAHLE Powertrain and Allotrope Energy have unveiled a new battery technology which offers ultra-fast recharging coupled with good power density. By combining the benefits of super capacitors and traditional lithium-ion batteries, the new lithium-carbon technology enables a full charge to be delivered in a similar time to refuelling an internal combustion-powered vehicle. In addition, Li-C cells are free from rare-earth metals, are fully recyclable, and are not susceptible to the runaway events. In a collaborative project with Allotrope Energy, MAHLE Powertrain has considered how an electric moped could be used as an urban delivery vehicle powered by an inexpensive small capacity lithium-carbon battery that could be recharged between stops in as little as 90 seconds.Allotrope Energy’s lithium-carbon technology combines the benefits of super capacitors and traditional lithium-ion batteries to deliver a cell that can be recharged quickly and yet retains good energy density. The technology features a high-rate battery-type anode and a high-capacity electric double layer capacitor style cathode, separated by an organic electrolyte. The result is a battery cell with that suffers none of the thermal degradation effects experienced by traditional lithium-based batteries. Its stability, even at high temperatures, permits high current delivery and fast recharging, all without the need for complex external cooling or elaborate battery management systems.Additionally, its capacitor-style cathode enables a lifetime of over 100,000 cycles, far greater than conventional batteries, while the elimination of rare-earth metals and the design’s complete recyclability make it better for the environment both during production and long after it.As part of the project, MAHLE Powertrain investigated the scenario of a city-based e-moped fast-food delivery service with a 25 km target range. A 500 Wh conventional lithium-ion battery would require a recharge mid-shift that, even with a fast-charger, would take more than 30 minutes. In addition, regular fast charging reduces battery life to the point it would likely need replacement every year or two. A lithium-carbon pack, however, could be recharged at 20 kW in just 90 seconds, meaning a full charge could be achieved in the time taken for the next delivery to be collected.The solution Bassett’s team came up with uses its own built-in capacitor-based energy store to deliver ultra-fast charging up to 20 kW by augmenting the power from a typical 7 kW single phase connection, thereby reducing cost and complexity while eliminating the need for expensive power grid connection upgrades.