Engineers at Ford Motor Company and researchers at Purdue University have filed a patent application for a process that uses a special cooling liquid to dissipate the heat generated when large amounts of electricity flow through a charging cable. The liquid evaporates, removing much of the heat in the process. The bottom line is this: This charging cable is much more efficient than usual products, so that in the future the charging process of electric vehicles could take only a few minutes - and thus no longer than refuelling at a conventional petrol pump.
"So far, chargers are still limited in their performance due to the risk of overheating. However, to charge an electric vehicle's battery faster, more current needs to flow through the cable," says Michael Degner, Senior Technical Leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "This also increases the amount of heat that must be dissipated to ensure the safety and proper functioning of the cable."
Issam Mudawar, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, explains, "Charging times for electric vehicles can vary widely - from 20 minutes at a fast-charging station to several hours at household outlets." For potential customers considering buying an electric vehicle, this could be a deterrent factor, Mudawar says.
Purdue researchers intend to begin extensive testing of a liquid-cooled charging cable prototype in the next two years. Unfortunately, the fast-charging cable will not reach market maturity in the near future. After all, the developers have already applied for a patent for their technology.