NEW YORK — Is it possible to charge your phone from 0% to 100% in less than a minute? Yes. I just saw it happen.
But you’ll need to put a special battery in your phone, drill holes through the case directly into the battery, put copper connectors in the holes and get a specialized 200 amp charger.
Or you could leave the instant-charging to Israeli startup StoreDot, which is designing a power system that can charge your phone up to 200 times faster than today’s charging speeds.
In its labs, StoreDot has developed new molecules that enable a specialized lithium-ion battery to be rapidly charged. Coupled with a similarly specialized charging unit, you can charge your phone in six minutes, one minute and even in 30 seconds, depending on the charger model you’re using.
StoreDot’s most practical solution is its 50-amp charger, which can power a phone to 100% in about six minutes. It’s called the “x20” because it charges your phone 20 times faster than today’s charging solutions.
The x20 is the easiest of StoreDot’s offerings to implement, because it comes with a pocket-sized wall charger — and charging a phone any faster requires a direct connection to the battery and a monstrous charging pack..
The x100 (you guessed it — 100 times faster) requires you to bump up the current to 200 amps. Smartphone makers will also have to drill holes through the back, which doesn’t exactly adhere to today’s design standards. But imagine plugging your phone in for a half minute and having a full charge. You’d likely trade some aesthetics for that.
StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf acknowledges that each solution has its drawbacks and limitations.
Even the x20 model requires a special 20-pin connector that looks similar to the old iPhone and iPod connectors. As most of the industry migrates to the universal USB Type-C connector, it’s going to take some convincing to move back to a specialized one.
“They can implement it however they want, but I need 20 pins to do it,” Myersdorf said in an interview.
The x100’s charger is bigger than your smartphone itself and definitely not something you’d want to lug around in a bag.
The StoreDot charging solutions also add about $30 of cost to each smartphone. After suppliers and the smartphone makers take their cuts, Myersdorf predicts it would make smartphones about $60 more expensive. That could be a deal-breaker for many, particularly as smartphone prices are falling through the floor.
Still, Myersdorf says StoreDot has generated a significant amount of interest from smartphone companies — and $66 million in funding.
StoreDot is currently working on a cheaper solution. But there’s still a long road ahead until it sees the light of day. It needs to clear all kinds of regulatory approvals (Myersdorf claims it’s actually safer than traditional lithium-ion batteries, because it’s less prone to combustion). And the cost will continue to be a problem for several years.
He predicts that the first StoreDot batteries will appear on the market in 2017. But by 2018, as the technology begins to be adopted more quickly, Mysersdorf thinks the cost of putting StoreDot charging solutions in smartphones will be about the same as today’s batteries.