Nissan has unveiled a couple of innovations, and the first is the development of a new technology that can fully charge an electric vehicle battery in about 10 minutes.

According to a report, researchers at Japan’s Kansai University, working together with Nissan boffins, have come up with tech to speed up the charging process. Currently, lithium-ion batteries can take up to eight hours to recharge fully.

In experiments, the researchers tweaked a capacitor – by using a composite made from tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide for the capacitor’s electrode instead of the usual carbon – to allow it to hold more power. Tests with the new capacitor resulted in it being able to fully recharge within 10 minutes, while maintaining nearly the same storage capacity and voltage as lithium-ion batteries, the report says.

Apparently, the new capacitor has endured repeated charging and discharging without durabiility issues, and the researchers are now planning to go further afield, utilising different materials and structures for the device, with the aim of bringing down the charge time to three minutes or less.

The report adds that it is likely to take about a decade to commercialise the technology, but the breakthrough is expected to help cut production costs for electric cars and make them more popular for drivers in a hurry.

The second one involves steel, in this case what has been tagged as the world’s first ultra high tensile strength steel to be rated at 1.2 gigapascals (GPa), which Nissan has developed in collaboration with Nippon Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel.

What’s unique about this one isn’t just its stiffness, but also its formability. Until now, high tensile strength steel involved a critical trade-off – increased strength came with increased rigidity, and with that, a consequent reduction in press formability, not to mention the challenges in spot-welding the stuff. Traditionally, only high tensile steel – rated up to 980 megapascals (MPa) – has been used in cold pressing structural body parts, requiring complex press work.

The new material changes the scene. Highly formable, it will be produced from 2013 as steel plates for use in cold pressing structural body parts, and used for centre pillar reinforcements, front and side roof rails and other key structural components.

Development of the new material was realised by a breakthrough in the ability to control its structural formation at the sub-micron level, combining hard and soft layers to achieve both strength and formability. An optimal spot-welding methodology – a proprietary process which involves careful optimisation of welding pressure, current volume and power distribution – was also developed for use with it.

The steel offers the benefit of exceeding the structural body performance of previous materials, with less thickness needed. As such, it will offer weight savings, with Nissan claiming its use will reduce vehicle body weight by up to 15 kg.