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Desten claims 900-kW fast-charger adds 300 miles of range in under 5 minutes

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A few days ago, Piëch Automotive introduced the world to the production version of its slinky coupe, the Piëch GT. One of the most compelling aspects of the GT, after its beauty, is its claimed charge time: four minutes and 40 seconds to replace 311 miles of charge on the WLTP cycle. Read that again: a little less than 5 minutes to recharge a range that’s roughly equivalent to a Mustang Mach-E’s. The hasty electron refill is said to be thanks to proprietary batteries from Hong Kong-based battery maker Desten and the accompanying 900-kW charging system. Not long after Piëch showed of its wares, Desten talked a bit more about its batteries during an unveiling of its charging system in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The raw specs will raise the eyebrows of anyone keeping watch on the EV market and wondering how it will answer the numerous challenges ahead. Desten says it made “breakthrough discoveries in materials and cell structures,” creating a prototypical EV battery good for 3,000 charge cycles and about 930,000 miles of driving range. When plugged into the 900-kW charger, the battery reportedly doesn’t get hotter than 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) above the ambient temperature at the battery’s max discharge rate of 10 Celsius. That latter claim, we’re told, has been verified by “external testing organizations.” The primary drawback, according to New Atlas, seems to be specific energy content. The latest Nissan Leaf pack from AESC produces 224 watt-hours per kilogram, the latest Tesla 4680 pack is rated at 380 Wh/kg. Desten’s pack is said to come in at 160 Wh/kg. Desten says its packs, composed of 19-Ah cells, don’t require liquid cooling, so it can pack more of them into the same space as a liquid-cooled competitor pack.  

Or, with a 4:40 time to get 300 miles of range, perhaps you wouldn’t need to — assuming you had access to a Desten charger. The company says it plans to set up chargers, and will sell them for home use. At commercial locations, to keep the grid from blowing all its fuses when cars plug in to draw 0.9 megawatt each, Desten will apparently install a battery storage unit as a buffer. The storage unit will draw from the grid at standard currents, then discharge to a Desten-battery-equipped EV at the 900-kW rate. 

The only catch for now is that we only have what we’re being told. We don’t know the battery chemistry, except that it’s supposedly from “novel chemical formulations.” All we know about the battery composition is that it is “primarily renewable energy sources.” We don’t know who those testing organizations are. That is expected to change soon, as Desten is using its Indonesia showcase as the start of a roadshow that will travel throughout Asia, then the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

Until then, we can look forward to the Terra 360-kW chargers just unveiled by Swedish-Swiss firm ABB, said to replenish 62 miles of range for up to four EVs at a time in less than three minutes. They are being rolled out in Europe now, and will come to the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region in 2022.

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