There’s a lot to like about electric vehicles. They’re quiet, reliable, and about twice as efficient as the most frugal hybrid, not to mention that whole “instant torque” thing. But there’s no denying that vehicles with internal combustion engines have a big advantage when driving distances requiring more energy than you set off with. A battery company called StoreDot may have a solution, though—an extremely fast charging cell that could add 100 miles (160 km) of range in just five minutes. And its pack will be tested in a Polestar 5.
More than a century has conditioned us to think that refueling a car should take just a few minutes, so the 30–60 minutes that most EVs require to fast-charge seems offensive to many motorists. And that’s assuming the chargers work flawlessly—far from a safe assumption in 21st century America, unfortunately.
Right now, most automakers’ solution to this problem is to throw lithium-ion at it, building EVs with such big battery storage capacities that an unaerodynamic pickup truck could go more than 400 miles between plug-ins. There are, of course, problems with this approach.
Big batteries are extremely costly and account for the price premium for an EV versus a conventionally powered car. They’re heavy, too—add a 200 kWh pack to a pickup, and you’ve almost certainly entered the medium-duty Class 3 classification.
And, of course, a bigger battery takes longer to recharge than one with less capacity, assuming both are connected to an equally powerful fast charger.
StoreDot’s approach appears to sacrifice energy density for much quicker charging, partly by managing the battery’s temperature as it charges. The company uses silicon anodes and makes the components in its pouch cells thinner than more common cells, which also helps with heat rejection during charging.
Polestar evidently liked what it saw at StoreDot—in 2022, it invested in the battery startup, but now it’s taking things further. The two companies will test a StoreDot battery pack in a prototype Polestar 5 sedan next year.
This is a huge step for StoreDot and a strong endorsement that our groundbreaking technology is readying for mass production,” said Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot’s CEO. “We are extremely pleased and proud that Polestar aims to be the first automotive company to showcase our extreme fast charging battery cells in a full-scale, driveable prototype.”
StoreDot was our first financial investment in another company, and we have been collaborating with them to apply their advanced technology in proof-of-concept Polestar cars,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. “StoreDot’s pioneering extreme fast-charging batteries, combined with our upcoming top-of-the-line electric powertrain, can revolutionize the ownership experience for EV owners with the ability to recharge in minutes.”