One of the most innovative ideas from sci-fi movies is powering a machine by its own components. In this case, an electric vehicle.
Scientists have successfully developed a new high-capacity capacitor, which is made by putting together a dual layer of carbon capacitance. It will then be compressed into one very thin layer and can be stuck to the car surfaces such as the hood or the roof. Together with the battery, it could be able to supercharge the car within a few minutes. The birth of this lightweight material opens up a whole new vision for the electric car industry.
"The commercial version of this type of car is not there yet, but it's very near," said post-doc Marco from the University of Technology in Queensland. He added that we could be able to bring a prototype into the market within 3 to 5 years. This embedded layer of alternative charger might not hold as much energy as the car's battery, but it is able to transfer the energy it generates very quickly, meaning electrical vehicles can accelerate much faster now. What's more, since it can charge the car in a matter of minutes instead of hours like the ordinary car battery, they (the capacitors and the battery) would be a perfect combination.
The development of this high-density capacitor would be a game changer for the auto industry
Another Chinese researcher from Marco's team added that even though the energy capacity of a supercapacitor is nowhere near that of an ordinary Lithium-Ion battery, its energy density is much higher, allowing it to discharge a high load of electricity in a short period of time. Currently, we still couldn't turn the charging system of a vehicle to be wholly made of supercapacitors. If we could somehow increase the amount of energy a supercapacitor can store, we could get rid of the heavy old-fashioned lithium battery completely, thus free up the room for many other purposes, especially in lightning-fast sports cars.
But still, what we have now, the combination of Lithium-ion battery and high-density capacitors looks very promising.
Further research into this material will pave the way for its applications in other fields, such as sticking a layer of this material to the back of a smartphone meaning the battery is no longer needed. That's only the narrowest way to apply this material, who knows if there are a bunch of groundbreaking ideas in other fields waiting to become reality once this technology is fully developed.