Goodenough has recently come up
with a glass electrolyte, the medium
between the anode and cathode in a
battery, that can be used with lithium or
a sodium-ion battery, that allows it to be
charged faster and have more energy
density. The great thing about the glass
electrolyte is that it prevents dendrites,
small stalactites of metal, from forming
and stretching across the electrolyte,
which can lead to short-circuits and possibly fire. That was what was happening
to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and the
many hoverboards that caught fire on
Christmas mornings. If this technology
can be implemented in the manufacture
of Li-ion cells, it will make them safer.
FASTER AND SAFER
We talked to Stephen Voller, founder
of the British company called Zap&Go,
who is working on a carbon-ion battery.
He says their technology is safer than
Li-ion, and their charge technology is
what makes it even better. They’ve
developed a system that is capable of
recharging in seconds. They have a
drill battery powered by these batteries
that can be fully recharged in 10 seconds— 10 seconds!
Their system looks very promising,
and they are bringing an electric kids’
scooter to market in 2018 that can be
It looks like Li-ion is here to stay for
recharged in under five minutes and
run for at least 15 minutes. That’s their
first consumer product, with an electric
bicycle battery system planned for 2018
as well. They hope to have it capable
of being replacement batteries for OE
This technology is interesting for
some, as it would allow a person to
quick-charge their battery, even if it
doesn’t have quite the same range yet.
It’s great if you do a lot of shorter runs
and if you’re like many people who for-
get to charge their battery beforehand.
Carbon-ion batteries also have no com-
ponents that can start a fire or explode,
and as such, they’re completely safe for
Carbon-ion, because of its ability
to fast-charge, works much better on
regenerative systems. Having regener-
ative capability on an electric bike, as
in the case of many direct-drive motors
like on BionX or Stromer, is nice, but
with a Li-ion battery, you can’t get the
charge into the battery fast enough, so
it is virtually useless for anything but
creating motor drag going downhill.
Carbon-ion could actually make much
better use of regeneration.
Carbon-ion has another huge advan-
tage over Li-ion. Whereas Li-ion has
an expected life of 500–2000 charge
cycles, carbon-ion is rated at over
100,000 cycles. Li-ion uses a chemi-
cal reaction inside the battery to move
energy around, each time using up a
little of the chemicals inside. Carbon-ion
doesn’t use a chemical reaction internal-
ly, so there’s no degradation and longer
life. The battery will now outlive the vehi-
cle or device it is used in.
Zap&Go is starting out making these
batteries for power tools, robot vacuum
cleaners and bikes, but they’re setting
their sights on the car market as well.
The idea of being able to fuel up your
vehicle with electrons in minutes is com-
pelling, and no doubt could prove nec-
essary, as many car manufacturers and
many countries look to electric vehicles
as the necessary future.
Other companies are going after
battery-powered vehicles in a big way.
Tesla is leading the charge, but Volvo
has promised to no longer make inter-
nal-combustion engine-powered vehi-
cles in five years, and Bosch has invest-
ed millions of dollars into motors and
the moment, but we’re very excited to
try out carbon-ion too. Stay tuned! ■