Nissan Develops 10-Minute Rapid Charger For Leaf Electric Car

The time it takes an electric car to fully recharge from empty has always been the technology’s Achilles heel, with even a so-called rapid-charge taking half an hour for a car like the 2012 Nissan Leaf.

Nissan Motor Co. recently revealed it has developed technology to charge EV batteries in as little as 10 minutes. Researchers from Nissan, along with Japan’s Kansai University, have fully charged electric car batteries in about 10 minutes by using a composite made from tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide for the capacitor’s electrode instead of using carbon, with no significant effect on voltage or storage capacity.

While the revolutionary breakthrough could be a huge boost to the sale of electric vehicles and cut production costs, it could take up to 10 years to actually commercialize the technology. As most consumers will tell you, they think electric cars should refuel as quickly as gasoline ones.

But that goal might soon be in sight thanks to a joint project between Kansai University in Japan and Nissan’s own team of electric car engineers. Between them, the team has managed to develop charging hardware which reduces the time it takes to rapid charge a car like the 2012 Nissan Leaf from 30 minutes to just 10 minutes.

By changing the electrode material inside capacitors from carbon to tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide, the engineers discovered the power circuits inside the charger could handle more power, increasing the amount of power that could be safely fed into the car’s battery pack. In other words, the advance isn’t in battery technology, it’s in charging technology.

As well as dramatically shortening the time it takes an electric car to charge, the new capacitor material could have big implications in everything from computers to medical equipment, increasing efficiency and improving power output of many different devices.

By José Santamarta,