Idaho lab gets fireproof gear to test electric car batteries

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - A nuclear research facility in eastern Idaho has added equipment that will allow it to test next-generation batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Post Register reported Monday that the Idaho National Laboratory now has a pair of fireproof chemical storage units. The units enable researchers to test fast-charging lithium-ion batteries in extreme temperature conditions.

The laboratory's Kev Adjemian says today's fastest 480-volt electric car battery chargers take about 30 minutes to charge batteries. Automotive manufacturers have been working to design batteries that can complete a charge in less than 10 minutes.

Batteries capable of the faster charge speeds are more fire-prone, which is why the laboratory's new equipment is necessary for testing.

The lab tests experimental batteries from the United States Council for Automotive Research, which includes Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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