The EV charging market is booming. There are now more than 300 publicly accessible DC fast-charging stations across the United States with an additional 4,000+ available for leasing by private companies. That’s a lot of charging stations, but it still leaves many drivers in cities and suburbs without access to a public charger. The growing number of pure-electric vehicles on the road also hasn’t helped — there are only so many wall sockets in a house. That’s where the next generation of battery comes in: the battery to end all batteries.
What is an ultra-capacitor?
An ultra-capacitor is a battery that discharges at around the same rate as it charges. That means ultra-capacitors can be used to store energy in a device while the device is on, allowing the device to use less energy at the moment of an energy demand. Ultra capacitors are typically smaller than your average battery and can hold a charge much longer. This can improve energy efficiency by a significant margin, allowing devices to operate more efficiently. The average smartphone uses around 1 to 2 watts when idle, but can use up to 50 watts when in use. If the phone could only use 50 watts while in idle mode, it would take much less power to stay on — or the phone could last longer.
How the ultra-capacitor helps with charging
Ultra-capacitors are great at “pulse charging,” where a high-voltage pulse is sent to the battery to transfer energy. A large, daily energy use like charging a car is best served by a boost-charge, where voltage is increased substantially. However, ultra-capacitors can rapidly charge a device by sending a series of high-frequency pulses to the battery. This is especially useful in modern batteries that have low energy storage due to the high amount of energy required to charge. Ultra-capacitors can also be used to store power or to provide power at a moment’s notice. This can open up new kinds of IoT applications that require on-demand power like medical devices, security cameras, and industrial equipment. For example, carbon monoxide monitors don’t need to be connected to a battery. Instead, they can be connected to an ultra-capacitor that is charged when carbon monoxide is detected and used to power the sensor when the carbon monoxide is low.
Batteries vs. Ultra Capacitors — Which Is Better?
Ultra-capacitors are smaller, last longer, and can be charged more quickly. However, they aren’t able to store as much energy as batteries can. In most cases, ultra-capacitors are less expensive than batteries so they are a good choice if you need a small amount of energy storage that doesn’t need to be charged often. For example, ultra-capacitors can power a security camera that detects abnormal activity and sends an alert while batteries can power a device that saves information and remains powered even if the power goes out. However, in each of these cases, the device would be better off with a battery because ultra-capacitors aren’t designed to handle the power draw of continuous use.
Benefits of an Ultra-Capacitor Battery Charger
– Smaller and lighter — Ultra-capacitors are usually smaller than batteries. – Longer charge life — Ultra-capacitors can last hundreds of recharges compared to about 30 charges for a battery. – Hot-swappable — Ultra-capacitors can be plugged in or removed from a device without having to turn off the power or drain them of energy. Once the ultra-capacitor is charged, the device can avoid having to “re-boot” with a battery. – Less dangerous — Ultra-capacitors can be safely stored in any device and aren’t dangerous if they get wet like batteries can be.
Tesla’s new battery: Why it matters and why it won’t be big enough
Tesla’s new all-electric Model 3, with a base price of $35,000, is the first mass-market car that costs less than $50,000. It’s also the first car in Tesla’s lineup that gets more than 200 miles on a charge. With this new model, Tesla is trying to bring electric cars to the mainstream. Surprisingly, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the new battery will provide enough range for a “longer road trip, maybe two or three days.” To put that in perspective, there are only about 52,000 charging stations in the United States. If the Model 3 owners want to make it from Los Angeles to San Francisco, it would require about 150 recharges. Unless the Model 3 has a 30-minute quick-charge system, it would take at least a full day at a charging station. If the owners want to make it to New York City, it would be impossible unless they have a Supercharger in their driveway.