Sustainability is in and fossil fuels are deemed unfashionable, which is why plenty of consumers have been turning towards electric vehicles (EV). Currently, cars are often charged overnight in residential areas, but as the EV population grows, car charges are going to become a hot commodity if nothing is done to tackle the inevitable problem.
According to a report by the Knesset Research and Information Center, there were over 15,000 EVs in Israel late last year, but the country had a little more than 750 recharging units. That means that only 5% of those cars can be charged at any given time.
For Zooz Power, they decided to take matters into their own hands and developed charging stations that can charge faster rather than installing more EV outlets. Imagine if a car that usually takes eight hours to charge can be ready to go in just 15 minutes.
“At some point, we will have too many EV vehicles on the road and lots of annoyed drivers who will tell their friends and family not to buy EVs anymore [because it’s so difficult to charge them],” said Boaz Weizer, the CEO of Zooz Power.
The Israeli company formerly known as Chakratec has created a new charging system which is derivative of the kinetic flywheel technology. Developed by Zooz Power, the wheels weigh half a ton each and by drawing energy from the grid, the wheels spin 17,000 times per minute to generate the kind of energy that can be flushed directly into the vehicle’s battery so that it is fully charged in just 15 minutes.
CEO Boaz Weizer was quoted as saying that the charge source operates almost like a toilet’s flush, whereby a lot of water is quickly released into the cistern to effectively remove all waste, but in this case, it’s a lot of energy being released into the vehicle’s system so it is rapidly charged.
“The process converts electrical energy into kinetic energy and when a vehicle is attached to the charger, the spinning is slowed to transform that kinetic energy into electrical energy, which is how it is able to hold such a large charge,” explains one scientist responsible for the technology.
Unlike conventional cars or vehicles employed in ATV rides, EVs require to be charged in order to operate. The physical aspects of the charger means that it is sustainable and is not associated with any kind of pollution. One of the most harmful yet essential materials that we use today is lithium. It’s in our phones, our smart gadgets, our batteries. Lithium batteries weaken over time which is why they need to be replaced and when factoring in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that lithium-ion batteries release along with the power hungry processes of extracting lithium, the system that Zooz Power has invented is going to be a game changer.
“Currently it produces 23 times less carbon dioxide emissions when compared to lithium batteries” and with only a 20% loss of energy losses while the energy is stored in the kinetic systems, Weizer explains that it is “quite good” due to the fact that all energy storage systems had energy losses.
The company aims to populate areas where the electricity grid is not yet sophisticated to offer EV owners the leisure of charging their car even in remote areas. “In Israel, you can find Tesla superchargers at the Azrieli mall in Tel Aviv,” he said. “But there are none between Tel Aviv and Beersheba [in southern Israel]. We need a mix of solutions as the grid is upgraded.”
The first Zooz Power recharging unit is set to be installed at a Dor Alon gas station in central Israel. But the first pilot has already been operational at Vienna’s airport since 2018, proof that it works and that it is a sustainable investment for the Israeli economy.
“We’re in a transition period,” Weizer explained, “When cellphones were introduced, we didn’t have great reception outside of city centers, but the erection of telecom towers all over the nation aided us in our quest for connectivity. The same thing needs to happen for EVs if we ever want to convert from fossil gasses to renewable energy.”
Outside of Israel, five units will be installed in Germany, with two being rolled out in America, one in Rock Hill and another in Miami, which is in line with US president Joe Biden’s vision of having a national network of over 500,000 EV chargers by 2030. The CEO of Zooz Power has mentioned that the plan is to install charging stations every 50 miles along all US interstate roads before the end of 2026.
These are exciting times, not just for the tech industry in Israel but what it means for the go green initiative.