Skip to main content

Will the future of electric vehicles include instantly rechargeable batteries?

Thanks to a new technology from Purdue University researchers, we may in time be driving cars that are powered by an “instantly rechargeable” battery (called Ifbattery) that are considered safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly. Capable of recharging both electric and hybrid vehicle batteries, the process would be similar to that of refueling with gas, but instead of using fossil fuels, we’d be using electricity.

“Designing and building enough of these recharging stations requires massive infrastructure development, which means the energy distribution and storage system is being rebuilt at tremendous cost to accommodate the need for continual local battery recharge,” said Eric Nauman, co-founder of Ifbattery and a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, basic medical sciences and biomedical engineering. “Ifbattery is developing an energy storage system that would enable drivers to fill up their electric or hybrid vehicles with fluid electrolytes to re-energize spent battery fluids much like refueling their gas tanks.”

Ifbattery depends on an energy storage system that lets drivers fill up on fluid electrolytes in order to re-energize used battery fluids. Spent electrolytes could be quickly dropped off at gas stations, “which would then be sent in bulk to solar farms, wind turbine installations, or hydroelectric plants for reconstitution or re-charging into the viable electrolyte and reused many times,” explained John Cushman, Purdue University distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary science, who led the research team responsible for the technology.

“Electric and hybrid vehicle sales are growing worldwide and the popularity of companies like Tesla is incredible, but there continue to be strong challenges for industry and consumers of electric or hybrid cars,” Cushman said. “The biggest challenge for industry is to extend the life of a battery’s charge and the infrastructure needed to actually charge the vehicle. The greatest hurdle for drivers is the time commitment to keeping their cars fully charged.”

But now, that hurdle may have been crossed, as this latest innovation could eliminate the time needed to recharge a car battery, and furthermore, reduce the need for potentially expensive recharging stations.

Next up for the Ifbattery team is finding additional financing, as the researchers hope to soon build large-scale prototypes and find manufacturing partners.

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
The cheapest electric cars you can buy
A Telsa Model 3 drives along a road.

To date, electric vehicles have cost considerably more than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but that’s finally changing. Every year, more and more inexpensive EVs are hitting the market and, with the help of local, state, and federal tax credits and rebates (if available), many of them now sell for well below the 2023 median car price of $48,000.

If you're a budget-conscious buyer, that number is probably little consolation. However, there are a lot of good options for closer to $30,000 and below -- if you know where to look. That's why we've put together this guide. Here's a list of the nine most affordable electric vehicles available right now, ranked from cheapest to most expensive. Note that we're only including vehicles that are available in the U.S.

Read more
2024 BMW i5 unveiled as the first electric 5 Series
A red 2024 BMW i5 against an evening sky.

2024 BMW i5 BMW

The new 2024 BMW 5 Series is two cars in one. On one hand, there's the eighth-generation gasoline-powered sedan that will represent the bulk of sales in most markets. On the other hand, for the first time in the nameplate's long history, there's an electric version called i5.

Read more
What are the different types of electric car chargers?
Electric car home charger

As we head into a world of electric cars, charging is the biggest concern for many first-time buyers. It makes sense. While the hype for electric cars themselves is arguably justified, the biggest drawback is the fact that you have to charge them, and right now, that can be a bit of a hassle.

That’s not only because of the fact that you have to wait to charge — but also because of the fact that there are different types of electric car chargers, and you may not be able to charge an electric car with all of those different types.

Read more