Speed Reads

Da-da-da-daa-da-daaa — Charged!

Scientists build a battery that charges 70 percent in two minutes and lasts for 20 years

Get ready: In the near future, you may be able to charge your dead smartphone to mostly full during a single commercial break; your Tesla's range will go from zero to hundreds of miles in the parking lot while you make a quick grocery run; and — best of all — your devices won't need replacement batteries for two decades.

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore hacked the lithium-ion battery's charging mechanism, replacing the traditional lithium-ion's graphite anode with a gel made from titanium oxide, a food and sunscreen additive found in abundance in soil. A new technique transformed the gel's titanium dioxide particles from spherically-shaped to ultra-thin nanotubes, speeding up the chemical reactions that charge the battery while increasing its longevity to 10,000 charging cycles — 20 times the typical 500 cycles of current battery technology.

Because the prototype uses so much existing technology, it may be possible to deliver the super-charged lithium-ion battery to market in just a couple of years. Until then, daydream about our ultra-efficient, electric-powered future while you stare at your plugged-in iPhone and impatiently wait for the rest of your life to begin.