The Israeli start-up StoreDot is looking to nature in its bid to solve one of e-mobility’s biggest challenges – range anxiety. It’s revolutionised the conventional Li-ion battery by designing and synthesizing proprietary organic and inorganic compounds, making it possible to fully charge an EV in just five minutes – the same time it takes to refuel a conventional ICE vehicle.
Dr. Doron Myersdorf is StoreDot’s CEO. We caught up with him to discuss its extreme fast charging (XFC) battery technology. Firstly, he told us how he got involved in the mobility and energy storage sector.
“I was looking into exciting research in Tel Aviv University around new organic materials and their potential in semiconductors and energy storage,” he says.
In July 2019, StoreDot achieved a world first when it demonstrated the first live full charge of a two-wheeled electric vehicle in five minutes. It has financial backing from BP, Daimler and TDK.
For the layman, we asked Myersdorf to explain its XFC technology and how it helps solve range anxiety.
“The number one barrier to the adoption of EVs is no longer cost, it is range anxiety. The concern is that drivers will get stuck on the highway or that they will need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the charging experience is exactly like fuelling a traditional petrol vehicle, this whole anxiety goes away,” he tells us.
“XFC technology provides 20 miles of driving range for each minute of charging. Slow charging will happen at home, at work, on the street etc., but the psychology of having XFC in a nearby station solves the anxiety problem.”
In Janaury 2021, it announced the availability of its first-generation 5-minute charge battery engineering samples, demonstrating the commercial viability of XFC batteries for the first time.
In a press statement, Myersdorf commented: “StoreDot continues to go from strength to strength as we get one step closer to making our vision of 5-minute charging of EVs a commercial reality. Our team of top scientists has overcome inherent challenges of XFC such as safety, cycle life and swelling by harnessing innovative materials and cell design.
“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone, moving XFC for the first time beyond innovation in the lab to a commercially-viable product that is scalable for mass production. This paves the way for the launch of our second-generation, silicon-dominant anode prototype battery for electric vehicles later this year.”
Due to charging infrastructure limitation, StoreDot made the decision that its initial EV product will be optimised for a ten minute charge. The next generation prototype should be ready by the end of 2021.
Myersdorf expects mass production to begin in 2023 and cars using the product to be on the road by 2025.
“We founded StoreDot to achieve what many said could never be done – develop batteries capable of delivering a full charge in just five minutes. We have shown that this level of XFC charging is possible – first in 2019 with an electric scooter and again six months ago with a commercial drone.”
“We’re on the cusp of achieving a revolution in the EV charging experience that will remove the critical barrier to mass adoption of EVs,” adds Myersdorf.
The current testing and safety certification of its batteries is handled by its manufacturing partner, China-based EVE Energy.
“Testing a cell is a long process that starts during the early formulation definition, through the lab cell design and pilot manufacturing, and ends once a third-party regulation institute tests and confirms the safety of the cell. We test the cells on a cell level, while the pack manufactures test the pack level,” he explains.
Continuous, fully-autonomous drone operation is finally being made a reality.
Typically it takes between sixty to ninety minutes to charge a commercial drone, with full charge giving a flight time of just over thirty minutes. In July 2020, StoreDot showcased its Ultra Fast Charging (UFC) technology by fully charging a commercial drone in just five minutes. This achievement could revolutionise the sector.
“In applications where cutting response times is critical, and where organizations must also demonstrate a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, the use of drones can play a crucial role in helping to establish a competitive advantage,” states Myersdorf.
“The launch of a UFC solution for drones changes the game. By reducing battery charging time to just 5 minutes – which is up to 18 times faster than existing drone batteries – and eliminating the need for human intervention, drone operators have far greater freedom about where they can site charging stations. As a result, continuous, fully-autonomous drone operation is finally being made a reality.
“Drones will now be able to spend much more of their valuable flight time engaged in actual missions, greatly extending their range, rather than having to return to base to have their battery swapped out.”
“At the same time, UFC will also enable drone users to expand their operations into regions they could not previously access. Both of these factors will significantly increase operational efficiencies and profitability, making the business case for drone use much more attractive than ever before,” he adds.
With the roll-out of its technology, it’s an exciting time for StoreDot. Myersdorf outlined the next aims for the company.
“To be the first to bring XFC (Extreme Fast Charging) battery technology to the EV market followed by XED (Extreme Energy Density). We are focused on eliminating range and charging anxiety, which is the number one barrier for EV adoption.”
Finally, we asked Myersdorf for this thoughts on what mobility will look like by the end of the decade.
“For long ranges, public transportation based on E-buses, E-trains, E-taxis and shared EVs. Inside the cities, autonomous taxis – all electric. For the last mile, electric scooters will also play a role,” he says.