Smartphones with batteries that can fully charge in just five minutes may be available to consumers as soon as next year.
The technology developed by Israeli start-up StoreDot was first showcased at the CES tech show in 2015 and is expected to go into production in 2018.
Chief executive of StoreDot, Doron Myersdorf, told BBC the batteries contained materials that allowed for ‘non-traditional’ reactions and an unusually fast transfer of ions from an anode to a cathode – the electrical process that charges a battery. “We will charge a smartphone in five minutes,” he said.
Myersdorf added that the technology was in pilot production at two Asian battery makers and that “mass production” was expected to commence in the first quarter of 2018.
However, Ben Wood, a technology analyst at CCS Insight, remains skeptical of the company’s claim to roll out the product as early as next year. Wood, however, does admit if the battery worked as planned, it could be a game changer for the smartphone industry. “Taking risks with battery technology can bite you,” he said. “I would say that experience has taught me to always remain skeptical. Let’s see if it happens would be my view.”
The analyst pointed out potential design flaws such as large amounts of heat generated when charging that can impact the performance of the battery.
Other manufacturer are also finding ways to crack the “battery problem”. These include chip maker Qualcomm that announced its Quick Charge 4 system last year which offers five hours of battery life following a five-minute charge.
StoreDot also unveiled an electric car battery that charges in five minutes at a tech show in Berlin this week. “We don’t have contracts but we are working with car companies to develop the battery – this will take another three years or so to be on the road,” said Myersdorf.
In comparison, Tesla’s Supercharger technology takes 75 minutes to fully charge the battery in one of the firm’s electric cars. A 30-minute charge would then allow for 170 miles of range with the same system. “Consumers want charge times similar to filling up their cars at a petrol station,” said Joe Kempton, an analyst at Canalys.
Howeve,r real applications would depend on “whether the technology can be produced at a large enough scale” and at the right cost, he added.