Why the IoT Needs Quickchargers

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



Fiddling around with my iPhone and a fast charger one weekend gave me a serious case of range anxiety.

Bear with me – at its core, the Internet of Things is a global network of gadgets, vehicles, appliances, and anything else with an internet connection (which is to say, everything). It’s the logical evolution of a technology – the World Wide Web – that promised to unite the world as never before. And it’s dominated by battery-powered devices.

Making every device “smart” and every widget connected puts the onus on power – a connected device that can’t stay on is no better than a paperweight. And without robust batteries and quickcharge technologies, the basic building blocks of the IoT break down.

This brings me back to my little weekend adventure. I’m constantly playing with my phone – far more than I should (just ask my wife). Pair my addiction with a device that’s infamous for its short battery life, and I’m constantly dealing with a literal power struggle.

A short while ago, battery specialist mophie was kind enough to send me a sample of their powerstation portable battery (w/ PD fast-charge technology), and it’s helped alleviate my phone’s voracious appetite for power.

But that’s just for starters. The real trick is refueling a two-ton electric car in the same (or similar) timeframe as a trip to the gas station. Even gas-powered vehicles can join the IoT club, but the development of connected and electric cars is happening congruently. Pretty soon, and especially with all the federal and state mandates, calling smart cars electric (and cars smart) will be redundant. 

We’ll all have to make the switch eventually (and our children definitely will), and for EV owners and aficionados, recharging is a lifestyle change. While our daily commute might be less than our EV’s max range, plugging it in at public recharge stations or at home (at a regular clip) is imperative. Forgetting to do so could leave us stranded.

The only permanent cure for range anxiety is a viable system of quickcharge technologies for electric vehicles. And we’re headed in that direction.

Last year, researchers at Penn State explained how to add 200 miles of range to an EV battery in 10 minutes. The solution involves heating the battery to 140°F, which reduces the metal plating inside of it. And while, as Forbes explains, most people factor their EV battery’s (lengthy) recharge cycle into their daily routine, a viable quickcharge system would make EVs feasible for road trips and kill all traces of range anxiety.

We’re still a ways off from commercializing Penn State’s findings (or similar technologies), but we’ve taken the crucial first steps – demonstrating it in a lab setting. Our inexorable march to a broader IoT will nudge the EV quickchargers along – arguably, the most lucrative addition to the IoT (the auto) needs a practical way to refuel on the fly.