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German Achieves Breakthrough in Fast-Charging Technology for Electric Cars

published: 2018-12-20 10:20

In a major breakthrough in electric-car charging technology, a 450 kW ultra-fast charging station has been launched in Germany recently, where electric cars can get fully charged in just 15 minutes, less than half of existing time, or obtain power for 100-kilometer driving with three-minute charging.

The cutting-edge charging station has been rolled out under the FastCharge program, which was initiated in July 2016, with government subsidy of 7.8 million euros and participated by Siemens, BMW, Porsche, system operator Allego GmbH and charging-technology firm Phoenix Contact.

The charging station, located in Jettingen-Scheppach of Bavaria, services electric cars with 400 or 800-voltage battery and CCS (combined charging system)-type 2 interface, with charging capacity three to nine times existing stations. The service is free of charge for now.

In testing, a BMW i3 electric car with 57 kWH battery was charged with power 80% of capacity, up from 10%, within 15 minutes, while a Porsche with 90 kWh battery obtained power for 100-kilometer driving after three minutes of charging.

The station offers high-voltage power supply system and cooling-type high-power charging cables, capable of handling up to 920-voltage power, preventing overheating during the charging process.

The technology will alleviate disadvantage of electric cars in power charging, compared with traditional fossil-fuel cars which need only three to five minutes for filling their oil tanks. A Tesla car will need 60 minutes for full charging at a 120 kW charging station.

Strenuous effort has been made in recent years, in order to shorten charging time and increase cruising range. Multinational ABB, for instance, launched charging system "Terra High Power," where eight-minute charging can provide electric cars power for 200-kilometer driving. Israeli startup StoreDot has unveiled a fast-charging battery, which can gain power for 480-kilometer driving with five-minute charging.

There may be some side effect for fast charging, however. Keith Pullen, professor in urban energy system at the University of London, points out that fast charging could lower charging efficiency and damage battery. In addition, charging stations will entail extra power demand on grid, as a 20-charging device station will need 6 MW power, according to Pullen.

(Photo courtesy of Porsche, written by Daisy Chuang)

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