BMW, Porsche, Allego, Phoenix Contact and Siemens succeed in boosting the charging capacity to a remarkable 450 kW. The companies demonstrated prototypes of both charging stations as well as dedicated demo vehicles developed as part of the FastCharge project this Wednesday in Bavaria. And, we were there to document.
At the end of 2017, the quintet had stated their aim to figure out the “technical and physical limits of all components and systems involved in charging, both in the vehicle and the infrastructure” and to ultimately target charging capacities of up to 450 kW.
Only a year later, the inauguration of a prototype charging system on the A8 motorway between Ulm and Augsburg, proves that charging an electric car can be as quick as filling a tank. The BMW led consortium yesterday demonstrated charging times of less than three minutes are possible, at least for the first 100 kilometres of range and with two research vehicles, which of course had to be made receptive to such charging performance first.
Let’s take a closer look at the charging system: Developed by Siemens, it is equipped with a CCS connection and was explicitly developed to “test the limits of the rapid charging capability of batteries”. It is capable of working with voltages of up to 920 volts, which is still a dream of the future with current electric vehicles. But anyone who still wants to try out the new charger – especially since the use if free of charge – does not have to worry it will be too much too fast for the electric car. According to the consortium, the controller automatically adjusts the performance to deliver only what a car can take. In other words, the performance of the two CCS charging points automatically adapts to the maximum permissible charging performance of the charging vehicles and is therefore downward compatible.
The site allows to charge several electric cars simultaneously, with two charging points provided – one with 175 kW and another with up to 450 kW. Combined with its high currents and voltages, the system is suitable for a wide range of applications, such as fleet charging solutions or on motorways. The grid connection is controlled via a charging container in which Siemens has also installed the power electronics.
Porsche’s research flagship cracks 400 kW mark
In order to illustrate the time savings that can be achieved with such high charging capacities, both BMW and Porsche have built corresponding demo vehicles. BMW converted an i3 and equipped it with a high-voltage battery, which brings it to 57 kWh net capacity. A charging process from 10 to 80 percent State of Charge (SOC) takes only 15 minutes – one third of what the current i3 generation does on the road and with up to 175 kW. Porsche’s research vehicle however, a converted Panamera without road approval, has a net battery capacity of around 90 kWh. The car achieves an initial charging capacity of over 400 kW and thus enables charging times of less than 3 minutes for the first 100 km range, as described by the FastCharge consortium. The electrive.net team was able to document successful charging processes on site. The videos will be published shortly. They will also show, or better tell how powerful the cooling of both the vehicles and the charging system is, as it is audible over the engine noise from the neighbouring truck filling station.
By the way, the charging connections are hidden behind the new column design by operator Allego, which has also been realised for the first time. Depending on the vehicle model, the systems can charge both 400 V and 800 V battery systems via cooled HPC charging cables from Phoenix Contact. A water-glycol mixture serves as cooling liquid. The vehicle charge port is also cooled during energy transmission.
The FastCharge research project is an industrial consortium led by the BMW Group. Allego GmbH, Phoenix Contact E-Mobility GmbH, Porsche AG and Siemens AG are active partners. FastCharge is funded with 7.8 million euros by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.
>> with reporting from electrive.net