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When it comes to comparing electric vehicle models, battery capability is always a crucial factor – not only does it determine the car’s range, but also the amount of time it’ll need to recharge on a regular basis. Thanks to the new discovery at the University of Glasgow, soon we may be able to stop worrying about the latter – Scottish scientists have just announced the development of a battery which could reduce the charging times of electric vehicles from hours to merely seconds.

The so-called ‘hybrid-electric-hydrogen’ flow batteries could merge the world of sustainable fuels with the old-school experience of a 2-minute-long break at a gas station, and the similarities don’t just lie in the length of the process. According to the University’s journal, the new method of energy storage employs the use of a highly concentrated, pumpable liquid containing nano-molecules. Once a battery runs out, the liquid can then be quickly replaced at a charging station, which can also “recharge” the retrieved flow at the same time.

For future renewables to be effective high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply. Our approach will provide a new route to do this electrochemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity – stated Professor Leroy Cronin, lead designer and developer of the flow battery technology.

Apart from being fully sustainable, researchers have also revealed the versatility of the new discovery – the energy from the batteries can be released as either electricity or hydrogen gas. Thus, at times of peak demand, the energy storage unit could supply the vehicle both with fuel, and electric power if needed.

The scientists have stated their hopes that their new discovery will further the research of not only electric vehicle power supplies, but also the storage of renewable energy on a larger scale.