A company called Ioxus has announced the first generation of an ultracapacitor-equipped battery that sounds absolutely game-changing: it's billed as lasting twice as long as your average ultracapacitor, and it charges in mere seconds. There's a catch, though — and isn't there always?
Now, it's important to understand what scale we're dealing with here. You won't find one of Ioxus's batteries powering, say, an electric car, but it could change things for portable gadgets such as power tools and household gadgets or more specialized military or medical gadgetry.
I mean, imagine if you were doing a little housework and your power drill ran out of juice. In the time it took you to plug it in, go get yourself a glass of water and come back it'd be ready to go again. Ioxus is looking at times of around 20 seconds for a partial charge, with only 90 seconds netting you a full battery.
The trade off? Ioxus's ultracapacitors don't last as long as your average one. The company pegs the lifespan of its batteries at around 20,000 cycles, which may sound like a lot until you consider that usually you get millions of cycles.
That lifespan will only get better with future iterations of the batteries, too. Ioxus plans for its ultracapacitor hybrids to find their way into electric vehicles one day — not to power them, but to work with systems such as regenerative braking and give the car a quick burst of energy in a small amount of time.