Here’s why you can’t charge a battery in 15 minutes

Charging sucks. Literally. It sucks power from the wall and stores it. That’s how your battery becomes useful. That’s all well and good but none of us likes to stand there and wait while our batteries charge, especially if trapped in an airport for unexpected hours. It is during that prison term that we wish for batteries that could charge in seconds, leaving us free to live our lives untethered from the wall.

At Solid Signal, we’re often asked about rapid battery chargers. There are a lot of articles out there about them. What they didn’t explain was why you can’t charge a battery in 15 minutes.

As batteries charge, they also heat up. Heat is the sworn enemy of batteries. It causes them to swell and crystallize and in general stop working. Enough heat, and a battery will explode. (Which, by the way, is not a good thing.) It probably is possible to charge a battery in 15 minutes but if you did, the battery would probably would be permanently damaged. That’s why modern cell phones have circuits that prevent you from rapid-charging your battery like that. If you did something like hooked up a 12 volt, 20 amp source to your battery (which you would have to build yourself) it still wouldn’t charge in 15 minutes. It might fry the phone but even that isn’t likely.

Several years ago we told you about a new technology that could make batteries obsolete. This new technology lets you charge up quickly, because it doesn’t use chemicals like today’s batteries. It’s more resistant to heat and doesn’t break down. Of course it’s all theoretical right now. For now we’re stuck with the same chemical-based, potentially-exploding balls of hazardous waste we can’t live without.

And you know what? They don’t even charge that fast.