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JFE Engineering Corp. has developed a quick battery charger for electric vehicles that allows a battery to be charged at about half of its capacity in three minutes, company officials said.

This represents substantial progress in shortening the charging time as conventional equipment, even those touted as quick chargers, often need 30 minutes to rejuvenate a battery to about 80 percent of its capacity.

JFE Engineering said its new unit can charge a battery to 70 percent of capacity in five minutes.

“We have shortened the charging time to three minutes, the same amount of time for refueling by gasoline or making a simple purchase,” a company official said.

The Tokyo-based firm plans to release the battery charger for installment at gas stations and convenience stores by the end of next March.

In the case of Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s i-MiEV electric vehicle, which can run 160 km on a full charge, JFE Engineering’s new charger will enable the car to run 80 km with a three-minute charge.

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