MIT Electric Vehicle Team tests how rapid charging affects battery life

You may not be able to buy a Fisker Karma just yet, but thanks to MIT you may learn a little bit more about the plug-in's battery life. Back in January 2010, it was announced that the Karma would be using batteries supplied by A123 Systems, which just happens to be an MIT spinoff company. The MIT Electric Vehicle Team is using these A123 batteries to perform a variety of rapid charging tests to get an idea of pack longevity. In one test, they took an A123 cell and performed an automated 1,500 rapid charge-discharge cycles. After the torture was over, the battery had lost less than 10 percent of its original capacity. If that translates over to real-world longevity, it could be significantly better than the Nissan Leaf's expected battery life. Recall, Nissan says it expects 70 to 80 percent capacity after 10 years.
The MIT EV team has also removed the combustion engine in a Ford-donated 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid, converting it to a pure electric courtesy of 8,000 (!) A123 cells. However, to rapid-charge such a pack requires an expensive commercial-level charger, for which they are currently looking for funding.

Of course, all of this is a moot point in the U.S. until we can get some sort of standard for Level III fast-chargers here. Can't we just adopt CHAdeMO and call it a day?

[Source: TFOT | Image: Patrick Gillooly]

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