back to article Bad news from science land: Fast-charging li-ion batteries may be quick to top up, but they're also quick to die

Scientists studying the degradation of lithium-ion batteries believe fast charging will damage the power packs faster than one might expect. Boffins at Purdue University in America say they made the discovery while conducting atomic-level scanning of fast-charging lithium-ion battery electrodes. The team, led by Kejie Zhao, an …

  1. imanidiot Silver badge

    I can't help but think that blasting a battery with high energy X-ray photons isn't exactly going to help in the damage department either. No doubt fast charging is bad for batteries, but how exactly is that new knowledge? I thought that was pretty much "known". This might go to explain the WHY though but it's not news that it's happening imho.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      ???

      I was under the impression that for a while it was thought that fast charging to some extent was better for the battery. As it was warm for shorter periods of time. This of cause is no always the case for the maximum speed fast charging options.

      So I guess it needs to find a nice middle ground? Not too slow so the battery is constantly warm, and not too fast that it is over stressed?

      1. NoneSuch
        Megaphone

        Instead of better batteries...

        Learn some discipline.

        Delete crap apps.

        Stop living your life through social media.

        Garbage battery life is an indication that you have an addiction to a small glass screen. That isn't a technology flaw, it's a personal failing.

        1. usbac

          Re: Instead of better batteries...

          I wish I could up-vote you a thousand times.

          My phone battery (mid range Android phone) lasts me about two weeks. When people complain that their phone battery won't get them through a whole day, I tell them to "toss the phone and get a real life!!"

          Smartphones are more addictive than drugs, and almost as destructive...

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: Instead of better batteries...

            You can get phones that won't make it through a day just doing the background stuff that a phone on standby does. You will probably find your phone is like that in a 2-3 years time.

          2. Diddles

            Re: Instead of better batteries...

            Two weeks? Is it even switched on?

            As someone who clearly doesn't use a phone, I'd say you're hardly best placed to enter the debate. It's like someone complaining that their MPG could be better on their car and you turning round and glibly telling them not to drive it. Really?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Instead of better batteries...

            Two weeks ? Is it switched off the whole time ? What is the make and model ?

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Instead of better batteries...

          You appear to be under the illusion that the only use for these batteries is in phones, tablets and similar devices. There are plenty of other things that require batteries that have a good volume and mass to energy ratio and a short recharge cycle. Electric vehicles, two-way radios as used by our emergency services and portable power tools to name but a few.

          You also assume that the only reason people want good battery life in a phone or portable computer is to go on social media or similar trivialities. I can assure you that laptops are used for far more important things than that.

          1. Louis Schreurs

            Re: Instead of better batteries...

            It really isn’t necessary for the folks here to use a mobile device. It is entitlement, very much like any fanbois&grrls. The world wood b a bttr place if you conducted ur bizzns on a device with a power wire. For electric vehicles; spend r&d on fuel cells ‘n stop caryying around a lot of weight that will not loose mass in a particular linear way related to its energy loss.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Instead of better batteries...

              Crikey, that was hard going. The text limit in a post is very generous. There's no need for txt msging and there's no time limit so no need to race through allowing predictive spelling corrections to screw up your post even more. (Based on the word errors etc, I'm assuming you sent your message on your long lived battery phone)

        3. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Instead of better batteries...

          Problem is obsession with thin. I don't use data connection on phone or ANY SM on phone. Battery life is rubbish compared to 10+ years ago and I used camera, mp3 player and email then. Also more phone calls.

        4. tekHedd

          Re: Instead of better batteries...

          "Garbage battery life is an indication that you have an addiction..."

          Or, sometimes, an indication of a crap WiFi driver that doesn't let the phone go into deep sleep. At least that's my phone.

        5. ROC

          Re: Instead of better batteries...

          There is also the issue that some users are not close enough to cell towers, for the poor reception that can drain batteries, due the nature of their work, and/or their work requires frequent use of their phones. I see that a lot with tradesmen such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, store stockers who drive from store to store all day long. There are legitimate business needs for long-lasting batteries, and external conditions that drain them.

        6. Stuart Halliday

          Re: Instead of better batteries...

          So, slow down the charging of batteries?

          Have replaceable batteries. There, problem solved.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        It would be warm for a shorter time

        But a lot warmer during that time.

        Probably the best way to do fast charging is to have phones charge at slow speed when you connect them but put up a prompt asking if you want fast charging. Most of the time i.e. overnight charging you don't care how long it takes, but in the rare occasion when you do you'd still be able to charge fast. That would limit the possible battery degradation.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It would be warm for a shorter time

          Not that much good if an emergency comes up and you unexpectedly need a fully charged phone a few hours early.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: It would be warm for a shorter time

            That's no different than using a slow charger.

            If you are worried about a possible emergency then you always hit the prompt for the fast charge and pay the price on battery life.

          2. Louis Schreurs

            Re: It would be warm for a shorter time

            Emergencies, or murrican crises, ur not there.

            Police, ambulance, fire-brigade, that’s emergencies.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: It would be warm for a shorter time

              Sometime a callout is an emergency because if you don't get there in time and sort the problem, Police, Fire and/or Ambulance will be needed as a result of your failure. But maybe you aren't in that sort of job. Some people are.

              1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

                Re: It would be warm for a shorter time

                But then you can rotate through 2 batteries that you slow charge.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: It would be warm for a shorter time

                  IF you can change them out. Recall one of the big complaints about the trend in phones these days?

      3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: ???

        Most batteries have a middle-ground that's best for charging. For NiMH and NiCd, end-of-charge can only be determined at currents above 0.3C. For Lead-Acid and LiPo, the last 20 to 30 percent of the charge requires a voltage that ages the battery, so you want to get that done without wasting time. LiPo has a long lifespan without being fully charged so the top-off to 100% can be skipped. Lead-Acid degrades without receiving full charges.

        Most batteries are tricky to start charging when they're above 70%. Devices that need to will guess the correct charge using a chip that integrates the current flow in and out.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ???

          You wrote:

          > LiPo has a long lifespan without being fully charged so the top-off to 100% can be skipped.

          > Lead-Acid degrades without receiving full charges.

          Lithium batteries last multi years if fully charged to 100% overnight each night. Tested and confirmed, over and over, by those who care about keeping batteries fresh & don't have the big bucks to keep buying batteries. Every entity that claims that not charging lithium batteries up to 100% regularly makes them last longer ... desperately wants to fleece you by selling you replacement batteries. Or they're a (L)user who is repeating what they read without actually testing the seller's claims.

          Of course Lead-Acid degrades without receiving full charges. We all know that because we drive cars, and we see the results. So we can't be fooled there. However a lead-acid car battery that is kept at full voltage degrades after 5 years and must be replaced. It took decades for the battery manufacturers to develop the "lead sponge" electrode design that ensures that this will happen!

          1. Aitor 1

            Re: ???

            If you are ignorant please do not spread your misinformation, keep it to yourself.

            ion lithium batteries that are kept at 100% will lose more capacity to calendar loss than those charged at 70%, plus charging it to 100% will slightly damage them.

            As for battery conspiracy.. well, I am one to tend to conspiracy theories.. but rest assured there is no such a conspiracy. They just use cheaper and cheaper materials.

            Just a side note: my car original battery lasted 10 years.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Understanding why a specific type of cell fails might give an insight in how to design them. This is often very poorly understood.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    Duh!

    They could have saved a lot of sciency effort and just asked an average chippy how long the fast charge batteries on his drill last compsred to the normal rate.

    Lithium batteries are denser and don't have the same memory effect as the old ni-cads but fast charging is not good for either.

    Fast charging mobys noticeably shortens the battery life too.

    1. joeW

      Re: Duh!

      Would the average chippy have been able to tell them exactly how and why this was the case?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Duh!

        "Would the average chippy have been able to tell them exactly how and why this was the case?"

        Very probably, yes. My chippy knows everything, and isn't afraid to tell you either.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Duh!

          "Would the average chippy have been able to tell them exactly how and why this was the case?"

          Of course, its caused by a government/EU (or both if you manage to line up the right political affiliations) regulation that mandates chippy's jobs being as hard as possible. It's criminal really...

          1. Louis Schreurs

            Re: Duh!

            Hillary did it!

            I swear!

            Lock her up!

      2. Mr Benny

        Re: Duh!

        Sorry, but why would someone who fries fish need a drill, to kill it in the most sadistic way possible short of throwing it in the oil alive? Wtf is a "chippy" where you come from? Here in the UK its someone who sells fish and chips.

        1. TRT Silver badge
        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Duh!

          Wtf is a "chippy" where you come from?

          Chippy = carpenter or joiner. That really isn't such an uncommon term, and I think most people would recognise it.

          By a similar token, if I had a problem with my electrics and my landlord said he'd send a sparky over, I'd be quite happy about that rather than wondering how some kid with a magic piano is going to make things better.

          1. Mr Benny

            Re: Duh!

            Ive never heard anyone call a carpenter a chippy in the UK. Perhaps youve watched too much eastenders.

            1. TS15

              Re: Duh!

              Chippy is an exceptionally common term for a carpenter; much the same as a sparky for an electrician.

              1. Sanctimonious Prick
                Coat

                Re: Duh!

                I thought a chippy was someone who turned trees into tiny pieces. (AU)

                1. YetAnotherLocksmith

                  Re: Duh!

                  Writing as a lockie, you're thinking of a wood chipper. Which is what some of my less sophisticated colleagues do to doors.

              2. Mr Benny

                Re: Duh!

                Well not where I live mate.

        3. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Duh!

          In the UK, it can be either someone who sells fish & chips or a carpenter.

          In Trumpton, it describes a particular style of play in a hockey game

          https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/chippy

          chippy (also chippie)

          NOUN

          British

          informal

          1 - A fish-and-chip shop.

          ‘there used to be a good chippy down the back of Albert Street’

          2 - A carpenter.

          ADJECTIVE

          informal

          1 - (of a person) touchy and defensive, especially on account of having a grievance or a sense of inferiority.

          ‘I thought she was hostile and chippy’

          1.1 - North American (of an ice-hockey game or player) rough and belligerent.

          ‘a chippy game’

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: In Trumpton, it describes a particular style of play in a hockey game

            I'm sure Chippy Minton wasn't hostile, rough or belligerent. Quite a helpful chap, IIRC.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: In Trumpton, it describes a particular style of play in a hockey game

              You sometimes hear the adjective "chippy" in America, too. Don't know the exact etymology but it may come from the idiom "chip on his shoulder" (meaning having an unresolved gripe that is angering him). Put a lot of people with angst together and you can create a powder keg situation.

              1. ROC
                Coat

                Re: In Trumpton, it describes a particular style of play in a hockey game

                Send the chips flying, eh?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Duh!

      I find that the longer lasting batteries are NiMH types... other than the overall weight increase, I think they're a better overall choice. I still have working laptop batteries that use NiMH whereas LiPo etc. wear out VERY quickly by comparison...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Duh!

        The original Prius used NiMH, I think for that reason.

        1. IGotOut

          Re: Duh!

          The issue both NiMH and NiCad was they need to be completely discharged to maintain performance.

          As for fast charging, this has certainly been around since the days of Lead Acid batteries.

          No one remember having to put the battery on trickle charge overnight because your British Leyland car had completely drained it when trying to start it because it happened to a day of the week with a Y in it?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Duh!

            "No one remember having to put the battery on trickle charge overnight because your British Leyland car had completely drained it when trying to start it because it happened to a day of the week with a Y in it?"

            What if he wasn't a native English speaker, meaning NONE of his days ended in y (or even had ANY y in it)?

            1. $till$kint

              Re: Duh!

              "What if he wasn't a native English speaker, meaning NONE of his days ended in y (or even had ANY y in it)?"

              Then they probably didn't have the lemming-like patriotic urge to own a BL product

          2. Louis Schreurs

            Re: Duh!

            Like, Yesterday?

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Duh!

          The original Prius was lead-acid.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Duh!

            A 2005 Prius has both a huge NiMH battery pack, and a Lead-Acid "auxilliary" battery. Stored for a long time, the lead-acid battery can go dead, and the car needs a jump to get restarted, while the NiMH battery pack has lots'o juice. Weird design.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Duh!

              Oh, yes. My memory is going you know. It is NiMH in the traction battery... I just assumed it was VSLA It's heavy enough! Although I did actually know that once, now I look it up again.

              The 12V auxiliary battery powers the relay that connects the traction pack to the inverter and the main 12V supply. It also powers the onboard computer which monitors the state of charge of the traction pack, so the main battery is checked for faults before being connected. It's over 200Volts, so you don't want that hooked up all the time. There is a "jump start" battery terminal under the bonnet, though it can't power a conventional car's starter. A small 12V industrial VSLA e.g. from a burglar alarm, can start a Prius. I've even heard of it being started using a standard 9V battery!

  3. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Holmes

    Universal Truth

    >>>what matters is how the lithium ions things are used<<<

    This statement has been applied to anything electrical or mechanical since forever by people who understand that everything has its limits.

    Now we know more about how Li-ion batteries degrade we can look forward to them keeling over about 5 mins past the end of any warranty.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, breakthrough science!

    Or perhaps not.

    It doesn't matter what the technology, it's been known for years that fast-charging causes increased degradation of the electrodes in batteries.

    Why would Li-ion be any different?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      Mushroom

      There's a distinct anti-science bias in many of these comments.

      "Why would Li-ion be any different?"

      Well why would it be the same? After all, they're different materials. (It's like why would adding soot to iron make it any different to pure iron?)

      This is science. So what_you_suspect != what_you_can_prove. More importantly, understanding the mechanism allows us to design things that aren't susceptible to the fault. Or, as the authors put it in the paper (which you did read, didn't you?), "We anticipate that the developed...understanding will pave the way toward improved electrode formulation for fast-charging batteries."

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: There's a distinct anti-science bias in many of these comments.

        Because the sheer physics and chemistry of fast charging are nigh-universal and thus would apply no matter what the product? Could this be the big thing this report concludes: that there is no free lunch?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's a distinct anti-science bias in many of these comments.

        > understanding will pave the way toward improved electrode formulation

        Nope, that should read: "understanding will pave the way toward improved battery obsolescence."

  5. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Boffin

    Scanning...

    By scanning the battery at various angles, a series of 2D images was generated and stacked to create a 3D rendering. Specifically, the planar images were converted into three dimensions using a filtered backprojection algorithm.

    I think you've just invented the CT scanner.

    A colleague of mine regularly takes bone samples to the Diamond Light synchrotron in Didcot to examine their microstructure using similar methods.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scanning...

      "A colleague of mine regularly takes bone samples to the Diamond Light synchrotron in Didcot to examine their microstructure using similar methods."

      That's a damn sight more powerful than your run of the mill CT scanner...

      It's worth noting that the average reader of the Register would probably enjoy a visit to the Diamond Light Source on one of the days it's open to the public during scheduled maintenance; Note that you have to enter a ballot to get tickets beforehand, you can't just turn up.

      1. really_adf

        Re: Scanning...

        It's worth noting that the average reader of the Register would probably enjoy a visit to the Diamond Light Source

        I have been there, and concur. An astonishing amount of infrastructure around the (comparatively small) storage ring, yet minute compared to (eg) the LHC... (I know DLS and LHC have other differences apart from size.)

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Degrading in batteries from fast charging in phones or laptops is inconvenient but they are usually easy to replace (although manufacturers have made it so harder to shave a few mm of the thickness) Plus in the case of phones these devices are often replaced every few years anyway due to newer models being released.

    Where I do see this as an issue is with batteries in electric vehicles, they are pushing the virtues of fast charging electric vehicles to try and make them more attractive. But if people find they had to shell out thousands of pounds after a few years to have all the batteries replaced in a car because of fast charging. They won't be particular pleased, as cars are cost a lot more to purchase than a phone or laptop.

    1. ivan5

      Now you know why electric cars have a 70% depreciation in two years.

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        Now you know why electric cars have a 70% depreciation in two years.

        Do you have proof for this? Becuase according to Autocars best and worst depreciating cars of 2019 list, that statement seems misleading at best.

        For those who cant be bothered reading through such a painfully formatted article (I don't blame you), four of the least depreciating cars were hybrid or all electric. Of the worst depreciating cars (and this is why I say the statement seems misleading, as opposed to completely false), the worst is the Renault Zoe which is all electric and lost 76.4% of its value in three years (not two), and much of that, in the opinion of the article, is due to the way Renault insist on leasing batteries. The other nine cars in the worst depreciating list are all ICE cars.

        So arguably, your statement does apply to one single model of electric car with a unfriendly ownership process. But apparently not all electric cars, not after two years, and not for the reasons you suggest.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
          Joke

          Maybe its also to do with the old achilles heel for Renaults being the electrics.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The main problem with electric cars is that by the time they are two years old there's a new version with better range. It isn't so much battery deterioration as relative specification deterioration.

        A two year old Leaf is roughly half the price of a new one but has only a 30kWH battery versus 40kWH.

        1. taxythingy

          That Leaf anecdote might have something to do with the 30 kWH battery packs degrading about 3-5 times faster than Nissan said they would. As in, get to about 50-60,000 km and they probably have the same capacity as a similar 24 kWH pack, and it gets worse from there.

    2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      According to this link*, European Tesla owners are reporting the batteries still being capable of 90% of the original range of the vehicle after 160,000 miles. If true, that doesn't seem to be too bad a rate of degradation.

      * I make no representation of how scientifically this data was collected or indeed the neutral stance or otherwise of a website focussed on promoting clean technology

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        I would assume that Tesla owners report what the car tells them about range and charge status. My understanding is that it is very difficult to tell anything about Lithium-Ion batteries unless they are fully charged (the voltage goes up) or severely discharged(voltage starts to drop). The question then would be, can one trust what Elon Musk's software says given that most of the time it very likely has limited or no information to work with?

        Here's a link to an article that discusses the issues at some length https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_measure_state_of_charge

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          You'd know

          when the car stops moving. Sure, that would only happen if you take long trips but if you're not taking long trips you're probably not fast charging anyway.

        2. TechnicalBen Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Overprovisioning.

          Your assuming that people are not measuring the miles. They may not be measuring the charge costs (power loss in charging, discharge loss, conversion loss), but they certainly would soo pipe up if the car only did 50 of those 150 "ranged" miles.

          So while complaining about the software may be correct on the costs per charge front, the actual range must be correct, even after those 120,000 miles (presumably kept running by using up the overprovisioning at some point).

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Alternatively they could drive a set number of miles starting from a full charge and note when they run out

          1. Grinning Bandicoot

            Those operators that have used the drive to the end of charge here in Taxifornia have found that they have also found the end of the useful life of the power pack. (Deliberately convoluted to maintain the Cosmic balance when remarking on simple answer flaws.) This brings up another question: Who and What program has been establish to dispose of these hazardous items when the time comes.

            TANSTAAFL

      2. DCFusor Silver badge

        Only Teslas supercharge?

        This all makes me happier about the slow charging of my 2012 Chevy Volt...

        Which still shows 41 miles range on a full charge, and gets it.

        I have no idea if the later ones they allowed to use more of the battery capacity last as long - this was a bet the company car design, and it seems they were quite conservative in the design parameters.

        At one point it was quoted you could replace the battery for $2.5k with the core (of course). Compared with any major drive-train issue in say, my Honda truck - that's not expensive, nor would it take long.

        I don't see a downside here if things are done right. I'm happy, at any rate.

  7. tentimes

    Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

    And to think I was considering buying an electric car - I hadn't thought about the battery depreciation. That's a deal breaker for me.

    What we need is one of the hundreds of "new battery technology!!!" stories, the Reg and other rags promote each year, to actually be true. I have been reading about new battery technology for 20 years now and not one of the (many!) stories actually turns out to be true and we are still stuck with old Li-ion batteries. Hard to believe really.

    1. Matthew 3

      Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

      This is where I see Renault's battery-leasing model as ideal. I like the idea of buying a three-year old car that's lost three quarters of its value, yet I can be certain that if the battery capacity should drop to an unacceptable level I can simply ask the manufacturer to replace it at their cost.

      And some of the battery leasing prices are no more expensive than a monthly tank of petrol fir a combustion engine.

      For me it solves the single biggest concern about having an electric car. The only downside is that it requires me to drive a Renault...

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: requires me to drive a Renault

        At least it's not a Fiat. Yet.

        1. Louis Schreurs

          Re: requires me to drive a Renault

          I hate to say I am very knowledgable about cars. About Renault and Fiat I would agree in general. The Fiat 500 is about another story, if you buy the space-age TwinAir engine. The 500e, I don’t know.

          I know it is a small car.

        2. Mage Silver badge

          Re: requires me to drive a Renault

          Sounds like the Fiat - Renault deal is off so you are saved.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

        "I can simply ask the manufacturer to replace it at their cost."

        Not quite. You are not ust paying to re-charge your battery pack, you are paying Renault a monthly/annual fee for the privilege of using the battery pack. SO you are paying in advance for that new battery pack.

        Whether that's more economical or convenient for an individual is for them to decide. A large one off fee every few years to buy a new pack or a monthly fee for a battery pack when it's needed. It's a bit like buying a mobile phone or leasing it through your provider and getting a "free" upgrade every 1,2 or 3 years. The one off outright purchase is cheaper in the long run, but monthly budgeting might be getter for others.

        1. SealTeam6

          Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

          No, you are paying for the (degraded) battery that you already have.

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

      I'm sure that Lion batteries are improving. A little bit each year. Just as ICE engines are. Most things seem to work that way. Problem is that we are conditioned (and not just by the Register) to expect revolutionary change rather than evolutionary change. FWIW, modern Internal Combustion Engines seem to be vastly better in every way than the unreliable, gas guzzling monstrosities of my youth in the 1950s.

      I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that by 2050 or so, cheap, efficient, fast charging (not necessarily Lion) batteries will be available at any garage or auto supply store.

    3. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

      Let me get this straight. You're thinking about spending many tens of thousands of Dollars/Pounds/Euros/Yen on an electric car that takes a goodly fraction of an hour to charge at a high speed charger and probably requires rewiring your house if you plan to charge it at home? And you're worried a BATTERY depreciation?

      FWIW a replacement Nimh battery pack for an older Prius that honestly gets really great gas mileage only costs a couple of thousand dollars. If you live in a high gasoline cost country and you're worried about minimizing auto expenses, a ten year old hybrid might well be your most cost effective option even if you have to replace the battery pack after a few years.

      1. Stuart 22

        Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

        "Let me get this straight. You're thinking about spending many tens of thousands of Dollars/Pounds/Euros/Yen on an electric car that takes a goodly fraction of an hour to charge at a high speed charger and probably requires rewiring your house if you plan to charge it at home?"

        The latest generation of eCars are knocking on 200 miles before a recharge. An hour break at a service station after that is good - not bad - if only for the safety of other road users. At home then you'll probably want to charge it overnight to get the best rate - that's usually eight hours to most people so why go to the expense of installing a fast-charge system unless if installation is trivial and/or subsidised?

        Frankly I value my life rather more - and getting rid of ICE pollution here in London should extend and make it more enjoyable. YMMV ;-)

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

          You are assuming that there will be a service station with an electric charge point every 200 miles or so, and that when you arrive you will not be queued behind a line of other cars also needing a "fast" 1 hour charge.

          And great that you can charge it at home. For the many of us who park on street or live in a flat, the only way we could use an electric car to commute would be if there are enough public charging points near where we live or work to ensure we will be able to charge the vehicle when needed.

          I have long been of the opinion that the most practical way to go is to have service stations that exchange your discharged battery for a fully charged one. This could be done in minutes with the right mechanical arrangements - though it would require car manufacturers to settle on a small range of common sizes and fittings for the removable batteries. The battery pack could have a built-in tamper-proof monitor that gives its state of charge so you only pay for the difference in energy between the batteries being exchanged.

          How the service station goes about recharging the batteries it has swapped out is a different problem. It would need an enormous electricity supply to be able to charge 100's of batteries a day. Probably better to ship them to a place that has oodles of cheap electricity.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

            "Probably better to ship them to a place that has oodles of cheap electricity."

            Using a Tesla electric truck? Whatever happened to that after the big launch show? Has there been any movement beyond the one or two prototypes?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

        What mpg does a hybrid Prius get these days? Last time I looked a few years ago, they were claiming 60mpg. I get that and better from my current ICE Diesel car.

        (Pollution levels etc are not my choice. It's a company car and my job often involves round trips for 300-400 miles in one day, so ICE or hybrid is the only choice)

        1. SealTeam6

          Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

          You don't have to buy a Prius. There are plenty of other hybrid cars available. Consider plug-in hybrids which have much larger batteries, longer electric-only range and gas mileage better than 100mpg even if you drive around like Michael Knight from KnightRider.

          Electricity from the mains is much cheaper than electricity generated by burning petrol in a self-charging (read as "unable to charge from mains").

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Another nail in the coffin of electric cars and Li-ion batteries

            "plug-in hybrids which have much larger batteries, longer electric-only range and gas mileage better than 100mpg even if you drive around like Michael Knight from KnightRider."

            I suspected things might have improved. But since I drive a company car, I don't get a choice in what I drive. I mentioned the Prius because at the time I last looked, that was about the only option and our company was on a major "green" kick at the time. Like most companies though, "green" is only good if it saves or generates cash one way or another so we still drive Diesels.

    4. DougS Silver badge

      You control how fast you charge your car

      You don't need to use a "supercharger" type site if you drive it around town and an overnight charge with your garage outlet will handle it other than when you take a long trip and need to charge en route.

      Also a car has a LOT more cells so even if you charge at 480v 100A or whatever it might be less current per cell than a fast charging phone.

      If it is a problem then those special chargers you can get for your garage that use higher power levels could have a little touchscreen so you could tell it over how long a period the car should be charged. If you put it in your garage at 6pm and won't be taking it out again until the morning, you could put "12 hours" in for charge time and it would know it doesn't have to charge as quickly as possible as if you were going to take it out again in an hour.

      1. IGotOut

        Re: You control how fast you charge your car

        Here we go again...

        Electric cars are crap because xyz.

        Electric cars are ace because abc.

        For starters, the VAST majority of travel is within the range of a return trip.

        If you are one of the majority AND you have somewhere to charge, then it could be for you.

        If your do more than the range and/or don't have somewhere to charge then they are most likely not for you. No big deal

        Battery technology and management is improving all the time, as are the number of charge points, so maybe it 10years they will be suitable.

        Remember, you once had to buy you petrol from the Chemist that was only Monday to Friday 9 to 5.

        1. Louis Schreurs

          Re: You control how fast you charge your car

          Remember, you once had to buy you petrol from the Chemist that was only Monday to Friday 9 to 5.

          Within a hundred years or so we’ll have some nice infrastructure to drive electrically.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: You control how fast you charge your car

          "If your do more than the range and/or don't have somewhere to charge then they are most likely not for you. No big deal"

          IIRC, the UK is planning to ban sales of new ICE cars by 2030 or 2040. That could get interesting depending how battery/charging tech and infrastructure grows. Those of us who absolutely need the range that current battery tech can't yet reach will probably also be suffering range anxiety as fuel stations rapidly disappear from the landscape.

          Having just suffered some very heavy traffic around holiday periods due to slow moving caravans on the motorways, I wonder what the range of the best EV is when towing a caravan?

  8. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    I'm surprised

    Not about the news, but that it wasn't suspected to be true from the beginning. Fast charging of ANY battery technology has always reduced life of the cells. It's also a higher risk.

    Icon, because even NiMH do this when fast charging goes wrong, like a bad joint on a thermistor.

    Bring back lead in solder and thus reduce landfill. Have longer life, better reuse at at last resort, recycling. Time that car batteries had reusable cases. The recycling of the lead into new batteries is a success story.

    What happens to most dead lithium batteries?

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: I'm surprised

      "What happens to most dead lithium batteries?"

      I think most -- especially car batteries-- actually are recycled. The Lithium isn't worth all that much (a few dollars a kg), but the Cobalt is. And the batteries themselves -- even if you believe them to be dead -- aren't really something you'd want a stack of out behind the shed.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Li ion batteries

    Like Tyrell says about burning twice as bright and burning half as long

  10. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Back in 1989 I hired a camcorder for a road trip. It came with two nicad batteries that only lasted 20 minutes each from a two hour charge. While we were on the road, to charge them, we connected them directly to the 12V supply coming out of the cigarette lighter with a butchered cigarette lighter adapter we had. After just 20 minutes of charging, they'd give us 30 minutes of usage. If anything, they worked better after a few days of this. I didn't tell VisionHire what we did.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony

    Sony phones have the opposite of fast charging. When you put them on charge at night, based on your usage pattern they charge slowly and reach peak charge shortly before you're expected to take the phone off charge.

    My three year old Z5C still uses battery as fast as it did 3 years ago. Even taking into account software improvements, I think Sony have a clue or two about how to manage batteries. Don't get them get warm.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Sony

      So if you have a 6am flight you'll grab your phone half charged because it was used to you waking up at 8am? No thanks, this is a perfect example of why AI fails.

      Just do what I suggested above, have it default to slow charging but give you a prompt when you plug it in to allow enabling fast charging. Don't base it on my habits, because then when I deviate from my habits I'll be screwed by having a phone that's not fully charged when I'm leaving on a trip!

      1. IGotOut

        Re: Sony

        Yes because everyone fly 3 days a week. Does you car not have the ability to charge a phone? Heck I can do 5 at a time in mine.

        Can you not afford a small portable charger for such times?

        I guess 99.99% of the users should revolve around the .01%

        1. techmind
          Go

          Re: Sony

          When you plug in the Sony phone to charge at bedtime, it tells you when it plans to charge it by. You have the option to do a non-optimised faster charge if you have an exceptionally early morning - or you can turn off the optimised charging altogether if your lifestyle is that chaotic.

          My 7-8 year old Sony laptop has a battery saver mode where (when enabled) it only charges the battery to "80%" rather than 100%. If the machine is mostly a desktop-replacement, this is little loss, but means the battery is still in excellent condition 7-8 years on.

          I recall with Li-Ion the *time* that they are maintained at close to full-charge is a significant factor in causing long-term degradation. So never charging above 80%, or only "topping them off" just before you're going to use the capacity makes sense.

          Li-Ion batteries designed for fast-charge (e.g. for cordless power-tools) tend to use a Li-Fe-Po (added iron, the Fe), which makes them more tolerant of fast charge and discharge (and less likely to spontaneously combust), but at the expense of something like 20% less capacity by weight or volume.

          **All engineering is a compromise**

  12. jonathan keith
    Boffin

    I've had a brainwave

    What about - no, hear me out on this - what about some sort of simple mechanism that, when the fast-charging battery is nearing the end of its life, enables the owner of the phone to remove the old battery and replace it with a new one?

    1. Louis Schreurs

      Re: I've had a brainwave

      Ground breaking technology, needs patent applying instantly, sell to crapple for some $$.

  13. Tromos

    Having replaced my phone battery due to it nearly catching fire, I have now stopped using fast charging as a matter of course. After a little over a year I noticed a brighter area about a centimetre in diameter on the screen and a full charge only lasted about 20 minutes. The bright area was due to a hot spot immediately behind that part of the screen. I'm glad to say that the screen returned to normal after the battery was replaced.

    I used to charge the phone overnight using the supplied charger which only did fast charging. I've now changed to using an older 1 Amp charger for the overnight charges and keep the fast charger exclusively for the infrequent occasions I need a quick top-up. I see no point in stressing the battery to achieve a full charge when the reduced current achieves the same result by the time I'm ready to get up. I agree that having a software option to charge fast with a default of slow would be better as it saves faffing around with two chargers.

  14. Louis Schreurs

    Batteries are bad.

    Use a wire.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Which helps those out in the field HOW?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Using a wire, what's the range of your electric car?

  15. smartroad

    Let's be honest, it is much less of an issue, batteries wearing out, IF COMPANIES FECKING ALLOWED US TO CHANGE THE BATTERIES EASIER! And maybe sold replacements at a reasonable price. I am having a nightmare trying to get Dell to sell me a new battery for my laptop. My last phone was replaced because the battery was only holding about a third of its charge (that and just before I was going to have it replaced I dropped and smashed the screen, butter fingers that I am).

    If we could buy and easily replace the batteries it wouldnt really matter, but the quest for pleasing reviewers with thinner and thinner phones, phones that don't creak when twisted in unrealistic ways, screens with resolutions the eye can't possibly see (but drain the battery more for the privilege), bezels that are so impossibly thin that you can't hold the phone comfortably without accidently touching the edge of the screen etc etc. I mean reviewers complain about the notch, but it is there because they have been making people think they need a phone with no bezels at all, and now we have mechanical solutions that will probably go wrong or "under screen" cameras that see 40% less light because it is coming through the screen.

    Damn that was more of a rant then I planned LOL

    TLDR: make phones slightly thicker and have removable/replaceable batteries!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "TLDR: make phones slightly thicker and have removable/replaceable batteries!"

      Remember the trend? "Thin is IN" Meaning the last company who tried that probably didn't last long. Otherwise, sealed-battery phones wouldn't be selling, as people would declare it a deal-breaker.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    If only there was a way of storing a lot of energy in a small space, and it was easily replaceable. Shame the only solutions for that appear to be using up natural resources and polluting our atmosphere.

  18. steviebuk Silver badge

    And the reason...

    ...we need swappable batteries back. Apple starting sticking them in place and others annoyingly followed!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: And the reason...

      Why not write your legislator to propose such a thing into product safety codes (since nonremovable batteries can render devices a fire risk)?

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