Electric cars could be charged in a matter of seconds using a revolutionary battery system developed by a team of Scottish scientists, it has been claimed.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow have adapted nano-molecules so they are able to store either electric power or hydrogen gas, creating a flexible dual-output battery system.
The energy released can take the form of electricity or gas â€“ meaning that the system could be used flexibly in situations that might require fuel or electric power.
The team of chemists says the breakthrough could lead to electric cars being charged in seconds, as the nano-molecules can be contained in a pumpable liquid.
This could mean that the battery of an electric car could be â€œrechargedâ€ in roughly the same length of time as petrol cars are today, with the old battery liquid being removed simultaneously.
The research, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, was led by Professor Leroy Cronin, the University of Glasgowâ€™s Regius Chair of Chemistry.
â€œFor future renewables to be effective, high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply,â€ he said.
â€œOur approach will provide a new route to do this electrochemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity.
â€œMoreover, the very high energy density of our material could increase the range of electric cars, and also increase the resilience of energy storage systems to keep the lights on at times of peak demand.â€
Research published by the AA last month suggests attitudes to electric cars are changing.
Half of young people in the UK said they would like to own one compared with only a quarter of their parents.
However, the survey also found that more than two thirds (67 per cent) of people think electric vehicles take too long to charge, while 85 per cent wanted more public charging points.