Lithium-ion batteries work by passing lithiun atoms from one end of the battery to another through the anode and cathode. Charging and density is limited by how many lithium atoms can pass through the anode, made up of long, thin (one atom thin) graphene sheets, which can only accommodate one lithium atom for every six carbon atoms. Scientists have also experimented with replacing carbon with silicon, which can hold more lithium atoms, but the silicon deforms and loses charging capacity after a short while. So what you end up with is a sort of lithium traffic jam, as not enough lithium can make it through the anode to speed up charging or increase range.
However, by placing a thin layer of silicon between the graphene sheets, and creating minute “holes” in the graphene sheets, researchers were able to increase power density by a factor of ten, while simultaneously decreasing charging time, also by a factor of ten. This would mean that current battery technology could be improved dramatically, without significantly increasing costs.
What that would mean is a current Nissan LEAF would have a range of 730 miles, and a empty-to-full charging time of about 3 minutes on a Level 3 charger. My only question is…what is the freakin’ hold up?