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‘Quantum charging’ EV batteries could power your car faster than pumping gas


When it comes to EV adoption, a major issue people complain about is slow charging times, especially when compared to pumping stinky gas.

To solve the charging time conundrum, a team of scientists from the Center for Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems at IBS turned to the field of quantum physics.

The team was inspired by a 2012 study, which proposed a “quantum battery concept”, i.e. a quantum mechanical system that acts as an energy storage device.

According to the 2021 study and many others that followed (e.g., here, here, and here), thanks to quantum resources, quantum batteries could offer multiple advantages over their conventional counterparts.

Among the intriguing benefits is the ability to recharge at a much faster rate.

The source of this quantum acceleration lies in the use of “tangle operations”, in which the battery cells are charged collectively as a whole. In contrast, conventional battery cells are charged in parallel and independently of each other, which slows down the whole process.

The benefit of this collective charge is measured by a ratio called the “quantum charge advantage”.

The IBS research team set out to find out how much the charging speed can be increased.

By conducting a series of theoretical experiments, the scientists discovered that collective charging, also known as “global operations protocol”, could achieve quadratic scaling of charging speed.

This means that as quantum batteries increase in size, the charging time becomes faster – unlike conventional batteries, where the higher the number of battery cells, the longer the charging time.

To put it in numbers, if you go from one battery cell in an EV to 10 cells, the charging speed increases by a factor of four, and if you go from one to 10 cells, the charging speed increases by a factor of 100.

According to the researchers, for a typical 200-cell EV battery, quantum charging can lead to charging speeds 200 times faster than traditional batteries.

Based on these estimates, charging an EV at home would go from 10 hours to three minutes. And at high-speed stations, charging times would go from half an hour to a few seconds.

However, revolutionary as it may sound, the researchers warn that there are still many unanswered questions and that quantum technologies require years of research before they can be introduced as a commercial alternative to green energy.

You can find the study here.