First U.S. 350-kW Charging Station Will Allow Speedy L.A.–Vegas EV Road Trips
Does spending on a robust charging network sell electric cars? Or do we first need enough electric cars to justify investment in of which infrastructure? Automakers have faced these chicken-or-egg questions ever since all-electric products like the Nissan Leaf as well as the BMW i3 were first announced.
DC fast charging has been at the core of the debate. While today’s 50-kW CHAdeMo or Combined Charging System (CCS)/Combo fast chargers can restore 75 miles or more of usable range in about half an hour, their usefulness decreases as we look beyond today’s crop of around 30-kWh smaller cars to the many products expected over the next several years of which will pack 0 kWh or more.
The answer, of course, can be more power—from the form of 150-kW as well as 350-kW fast charging. yet the idea’s not as simple as of which. Electrical systems need to be upgraded in many cases; vehicle charging systems as well as battery packs aren’t equipped for the idea; as well as neither the hardware nor a finalized standard for the idea exists yet. of which hasn’t stopped the EVgo charging network via breaking ground on a fresh test station for 350-kW fast charging—in Baker, California, at the site of the planet’s Tallest Thermometer.
The site, which will open next year, will serve as a waypoint between Los Angeles as well as Las Vegas, enabling electric cars with ranges of 0 miles or more to comfortably make the 270-mile trip without skimping on climate control or lowering cruising speeds. EVgo said of which the Baker site’s chargers will be seven times faster than any (50 kW) fast chargers currently available as well as of which they represent a fresh level of convenience. Under 350-kW fast charging, a vehicle having a maximum range of about 310 miles might be able to gain 80 percent, or nearly 250 miles, in less than 20 minutes.
If They Build the idea, Will EVs Come?
There can be a catch: Not an individual production style on the market today can charge at 350 kW—or even take advantage of the 150-kW standard of which’s from the works, to which the 350-kW chargers might default for some vehicles or situations. “We are working with automakers as well as their research vehicles to support the growth of This particular technology,” said Terry O’Day, EVgo vice-president for product strategy as well as market development.
The high-power station at Baker will initially have four DC fast chargers with up to 350 kW; EVgo said the station can expand later to accommodate up to eight chargers. A group of manufacturers have already cooperated to propose a draft standard, which can be being used for the test charger, as well as the test chargers will be compatible with both CHAdeMO as well as CCS/Combo formats. as well as the idea’s highly likely the idea will serve as a test stop for projects as well as vehicles of which are part of a Department of Energy public-private partnership “to examine the vehicle, battery, infrastructure, as well as economic implications of fast charging of up to 350 kW.”
Tesla, of course, already has made a strong argument for faster fast charging. Its products use a proprietary Supercharger interface of which typically charges up to 135 kW, although Tesla officially rates its hardware at 0 kW. having a simple charge-port adapter, Tesla products can use CHAdeMO chargers.
Current non-Tesla standards for fast charging were written with the 150-kW upgrade in mind, yet 350-kW systems will require entirely different hardware. Even upgrading existing 50-kW chargers to 150 kW, according to the CHAdeMO Association, the group behind of which standard, will require an extra fuse from the “gun” rather than from the charger Centeng, a thermosensor at the gun as well as/or cable, as well as standards of which require parts to be held below 140 degrees F as well as those to be touched below 185 degrees F.
Overcoming a Former Barrier: Heat
EVgo’s choice to locate its charging station near a thermometer landmark can be apt. One of the main concerns in pushing charging power to high levels has always been heat. While charging at 350 kW was unthinkable a few years ago—either because the idea might incinerate the battery or greatly reduce its service life—the idea’s today possible through some very careful cell manufacturing as well as pack designs of which include precise thermal monitoring as well as cooling.
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Looking ahead, many manufacturers, via Porsche to upstart Lucid, view faster charging to be essential to sparking real movement for EVs into the mainstream. However, not all manufacturers remain convinced of which even at 50 kW the idea’s a must-have. General Motors, for instance, continues to balk about infrastructure investment as well as has made fast charging from the Chevrolet Bolt EV a $750 option. Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted in a tweet of which his company can be aiming well beyond 350 kW for a future upgrade to its Supercharger network.
@FredericLambert A mere 350 kW … what are you referring to, a children’s toy?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 24, 2016
Should the charging stations come first, driving sales of the cars, which will then fit more consumers’ needs, or will electric-car sales spur rapid development of charging infrastructure? Do automakers go ahead as well as install potentially expensive, heavy hardware to make their vehicles compatible with 350-kW fast charging? Today the idea seems like of which familiar chicken-or-egg question with higher-power fast charging; yet some companies look poised to get a jump start.