Research partners investigate fast charging to the limits

Research partners investigate fast charging to the limits
Technology News |
A petrol or diesel vehicle is still refuelled much faster than an electric car. In the FastCharge research project, BMW and Porsche want to find out how quickly traction batteries can be charged - and where the limits of what is feasible are.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

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The charging time of electric vehicles is determined by current and voltage: the higher the voltage and amperage figures, the faster the energy storage tank fills up. In practice, however, both factors cannot be increased arbitrarily. FastCharge therefore concentrates on researching the technical and physical limits of all components and systems involved in loading – in the vehicle and in the infrastructure.

Today, the aim is to achieve charging capacities of up to 450 kilowatts – three times the maximum available charging capacity at today’s electricity filling stations. Voltages as high as 900 Volts and currents of 500 Amps over a projected charging time of less than 15 minutes place very high demands on all components involved. It is intended to cool the charging cable, plug and vehicle socket during power transmission. This makes it possible to use more flexible cables with a smaller diameter, which can be handled similarly to today’s fuel hoses. FastCharge relies on connectors and standards of the Combined Charging System (CCS), which is already proving its worth in the everyday use of standard electric vehicles. This also ensures, for example, that vehicles with lower power and voltage requirements can be easily supplied at the quick charging stations.

The joint project examines all aspects of fast loading in practice with the aim of introducing the necessary technologies at an industrial scale. In addition to the increase in performance during loading, basic principles and processes for the operation of ultra-fast loading systems including automated registration and billing processes for the customer are also being researched. The entire value-added chain is covered by the various project partners: in addition to the vehicle manufacturers BMW and Porsche, charging network operator Allego as well as technology providers Phoenix Contact and Siemens are also involved. As early as next year, the system will be implemented in prototypes and presented to the public.

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