Will EV charging stations become a thing of the past?

Gregory Daigle
7 min readSep 15, 2023

The newly planned networks of public electric vehicle charging stations being built may soon become redundant infrastructure if a demonstration planned for late October in Italy is successful. The demonstration is designed to showcase a new technology that would recharge electric vehicle batteries while driving without the use of added fuel cell technology or built-in solar collectors on the vehicle’s body. Installed in an EV as part of the vehicle’s power train, this technology could make the growing networks of charging stations obsolete, decrease the appeal of plug-in hybrids and accelerate the conversion to all-electric vehicles by eliminating the fear of running low on battery power during long trips.

Earlier this month in the NY Times, an article questioning the strategy of Toyota to stay with hybrids said, “Sales of all-electric vehicles are growing faster than hybrids. But some analysts predict that hybrid sales will surge as would-be electric vehicle buyers worry that the public charging network is inadequate and unreliable.” That worry could be completely supplanted if the planned racetrack demonstration is successful.

The technology in question is the E-Cat (which stands for “Energy Catalyzer”), invented by Italian Andrea Rossi. In its current iteration it is known as the E-Cat SKLep (the “SK” for Rossi’s collaborator physicist Sven Kullander, the “L” for parent company Leonardo Corp. and “ep” for electrical power). The E-Cat has gone through many configurations over the past 12 years, from small heat-generating devices, to large container-sized heat-generating power plants, to today’s small electricity-generating unit that is reported to output from 1–12 volts DC at a peak of 10 watts of power. At 30 grams and about half again the volume of a D-cell battery, the estimated power capacity is 1,000 kWh over its estimated 100,000 hour lifetime. Like EV battery packs, an array of these units (which might be reduced in size when assembled into the pack) would be added to the powertrain of an electric vehicle to keep batteries charged while the vehicle is operating on the road.

Decades of Experiments

Dr. Rossi founded Leonardo Corporation in 1996 to commercialize the E-Cat. Since he began his work Rossi has worked with some of the most respected physicists in Italy, such as professor Sergio Focardi, faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences at the University of Bologna, Italy and who led the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics. In an interview in 2011 Dr. Edmund Storms, a nuclear chemist who worked at Los Alamos National Lab for more than 30 years, said of Rossi in his collaboration with Focardi, “They [Rossi and Focardi] found a way of amplifying the effect to a level that makes it attractive as an industrial source of energy”.

Rossi’s initial aim was to further the exploration of experiments in heat-generating “cold fusion” reactors. Though many corporate funders (including Google) are pursuing cold fusion despite the negative media storm it initially generated in 1989, it is widely accepted now that the heat produced is most likely due not to fusion but rather to a form of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) where energy is released due to the shifting of isotopes in the nickel metal and lithium hydride reactants. However, with the newest generation of the E-Cat Rossi claims to have moved beyond LENR to a more fundamental way of generating electricity directly by employing what has come to be known as Hydrogen-Metal-Plasma generation.

So what is this new power source? Rossi posits it is due to the formation of dense exotic electron clusters in long range particle interactions at pico-metric scales. A theoretical paper “E-Cat SK and long-range particle interactions“ explaining the basis of what has been called “The Rossi effect” was co-authored with the late physicist Sven Kullander, a professor emeritus of High Energy Physics at Sweden’s Uppsala University. The SK series was the first time that Rossi focused upon these second and third order quantum effects initiated by a plasma, first predicted by theoretical physicist David Bohm fifty years ago in what is known as the Aharonov-Bohm effect. Rossi suggested that the plasma-based reaction is not a nuclear phenomenon but rather pico-chemistry taking place between the nuclear and atomic scale, and generating clusters of coherent electrons to generate energy many orders of magnitude greater than chemical reactions. Rossi has suggested a few possible non-mutually exclusive mechanisms including Casimir forces, but his data sheets for the device still indicate the use of nickel and lithium as catalysts employed to tap fluctuations of quantum vacuum from (…okay, I’m going to say it…) zero-point energy.

Progressing from LENR to Vacuum Energy

If this hasn’t made you click away, then I’ll say that in more than two decades of this progression from LENR to vacuum energy as a basis for the anomalous energy there have been numerous tests of the E-Cat reported. Andrea Rossi launched the first commercial E-Cat plant, a 1 MW thermal power plant in Bologna, on October 28, 2011. In October 2014 a team of researchers from Uppsala University released a report on a E-Cat reactor operated during a 31-day experiment during February and March 2014 in Lugano, Switzerland. The team reported that the reactor produced over twice as much energy as was fed into it, and that during the testing analysis showed that isotopic makeup of elements used in the fuel shifted significantly. See here for more information on this and more recent tests.

On August 25, 2015, the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded Rossi a patent for his invention, called in the application a ‘Fluid Heater’. On February 27, 2016, Andrea Rossi announced that the year-long test of his 1 MW E-Cat plant was finished. On April 6, 2016, Rossi’s Leonardo Corporation issued a press release announcing that the E-Cat plant “generated energy at a rate in excess of six (6) times the amount of energy consumed by the plant, often generating energy exceeding fifty (50) times the amount of energy consumed during the same period.”

Rossi began tests on a self-sustaining module as early as August of 2019. In November 2021 Rossi’s team created their first E-Cat for electricity production (E-Cat SKLep) and in March of 2023 Rossi’s team created a version of the E-Cat that did not require an outside current to initiate its operation, known as the E-Cat SKLep SSM (for self-sustain mode). By early 2023 Rossi released the performance testing of the SSM, publishing a datasheet and began a livestream of his power cell continuously running a 12 V 6000º K - 400 LM LED Honda motorcycle headlight beginning on March 13 and continuing through this writing in September.

Rossi has certainly been derided over the years by those in the condensed matter physics world who believe that the focus in the media of new energy sources should be on LENR rather than on Rossi’s evolution of the E-Cat. They site legal troubles that Rossi had in Italy when he developed a biodiesel process for holding, recycling and purifying oils that at the time had been considered secondary materials, but when new legislation was passed they were considered waste… making Rossi a de facto illegal polluter and imposing new tax payments he was responsible for retroactively. Rossi relinquished the technology of his Petroldragon process and moved to the United States, however, his biodiesel process was still used by the industry for some time.

The Demonstration

This past March Rossi answered questions posed by the public on his SSM technology for recharging EV batteries. He stated that multiple units of the E-Cat SKLep SSM can be placed in series to create a higher voltage input for battery charging and that it has been tested with various loads, both resistive (electric heaters) and inductive/capacitive loads (e.g., charging batteries, small DC motors, large AC motors).

In the live-streamed demonstration on the racetrack he plans to run two electric vehicles at a half track distance from each other. One vehicle will be a stock EV and the other will have the addition of the e-Cat SSM pack, with ballast to control the weight of vehicles so that they are the same. After the stock EV has depleted its battery power the modified EV will continue further around the track. The demonstration is estimated to last 12–14 hours, which would be several hours longer than the stock EV is estimated to be able to run on a single charge. At the end of the test a certified measurement of the remaining charge will be made by an independent third party expert who will also inspects batteries before and after to rule out tampering. Rossi predicts that the modified vehicle, when tested, will be shown to be fully charged.

Those in attendance will be professors from the University La Sapienza of Rome, reporters and technology bloggers including Frank Acland, chronicler of the E-Cat and Rossi’s journey. Dr. Rossi has never accepted payments in advance for product orders (though there have been some scam websites illegally taking advance payments), and expects that he will reach his goal of 1 million pre-orders for his devices soon after the demonstration at which time he will begin shipments.

Rossi has also mentioned that at some time in the future his units could be removed from the vehicle and used to power a user’s home, which would be an exciting addition to integrated home battery systems such as Tesla’s Powerwall.

For more on the journey of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat see the website E-Catworld.



Gregory Daigle

A retired professor of Industrial Design, Design Thinking educator, STEM software entrepreneur, international blogger and orthogonal thinker.