Today’s electric cars or EVs have mileage capacity challenges because of limited battery and energy storage. Part of the problem is the batteries themselves whether lead-acid or lithium-ion. Batteries provide direct current (DC) power. Engines run on alternating current (AC) power. That means anything coming from the battery has to be converted before it can be used to drive the engine.
Capacitors play an important role in doing that conversion but current technology is limited in its heat capacity and therefore struggles in the high temperatures environments of EV engines. Research to develop new capacitors is being conduction at the National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom. One of the projects is called HITECA, a capacitor capable of functioning in extreme high temperatures. It can operate in temperatures above 200 Celsius (392 Fahrenheit) degrees. That’s twice the boiling point of water. Current capacitors have an operating temperature range of between -55 and 125 Celsius (-67 and 257 Fahrenheit).
The technology involves the application of ultrathin films of alumina deposited in layers on a ceramic surface increasing energy storage capacity. Potential markets go beyond EVs and include applications for integrated circuits, space, renewable energy, extreme environments and high-power energy pulses for use in xrays, energy beams and electromagnetic systems.
But for EVs HITECA is a capacitor with high heat tolerance meaning less insulation and lighter vehicle weights. The high energy density means faster response in terms of energy release. The bottom line is significant improvements in EV range as well as reduced maintenance, so less down time and lower operating costs.