Designwerk enters the megawatt charging sector
Designwerk Technologies AG is adding a new fast charging station in the format of a container to its portfolio. The company presented the system, dubbed “Mega Charger”, to around 80 industry experts at its headquarters in Winterthur this week. The commissioning of a charging park based on the “Mega Charger” technology is planned for the coming year at Galliker Transport AG, a Swiss transport and logistics company based in Altishofen.
The technical data published by Designwerk includes the aforementioned 420 kW charging power per charging point (840 kW total power) and a battery capacity of up to 2 MWh, with which the lithium-ion batteries store energy for the chargers. The dimensions of the container housing the technology are 8.6 x 2.55 x 3 meters. “The new charging systems are intended to make electric commercial vehicles suitable for long journeys without overloading the power grid,” emphasized Designwerk in a press release. The system ensures that the power grid is not overloaded by charging peaks during the charging process. The energy storage units also ensure that the fluctuating energy supply from renewable sources is balanced out.
Sales of the “Mega Charger” have already begun. The individual charging power and battery capacity are adapted to the needs of the customer. In the case of Galliker Transport AG, this will be a “megawatt charging station” with a total charging capacity of more than 1 MW. Designwerk specifies that this will be a pilot plant that is due to open in 2024.
The technology on which the charging container is based comes from an ongoing demonstration project called “Megawatt battery charging system for heavy commercial vehicles”, which started at the beginning of 2022 and which Designwerk already reported on a year ago. The project partners are the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, the Bern University of Applied Sciences, the University of Applied Sciences of Eastern Switzerland and other industry players.
However, the demonstration project is about even higher charging capacities. The initiators are aiming to build and test a battery-supported charging station with a capacity of 1.05 megawatts per charging point. The technology should enable fast charging of electric trucks within 45 minutes. The energy content of the batteries should be 1.8 MWh and the container should weigh 25 tons. It is also said that the unit will be connected to the power grid via CEE 125 and that the MCS output can deliver up to 2,100 kW of charging power (up to 3,000 amps at 500 to 900 volts). A CCS plug is also installed. The overall efficiency from the grid to the buffer battery and then to the vehicle is said to be around 90 per cent.
According to Designwerk, the container can be transported by low-flying aircraft and loaded and unloaded by crane. “This project at the interface between research and the market will increase the maturity level of megawatt charging technology in order to bring it to market maturity. In order to maximize the acceptance and benefits for future users, the project group is following the international charging standard Megawatt Charging System,” emphasizes Designwerk.
There are currently no vehicles with the MCS standard on the roads. “But as the market ramp-up for electric cars and the associated expansion of the charging infrastructure have shown, issues relating to infrastructure and charging standards are rapidly gaining momentum,” says the Winterthur-based company. The Megawatt Charging System (MCS) is designed for a charging voltage of up to 1,250 volts and a current of 3,000 amps, which theoretically corresponds to a charging capacity of up to 3.75 megawatts.
“Long-distance trucks, ships and aircraft in particular require a new type of charging infrastructure. It differs from the infrastructure for electric cars and makes it possible to charge heavy commercial vehicles in a short time,” says Vivien Dettwiler, member of the Designwerk management team. “This helps to ensure that zero-emission freight transport arrives in all areas of application.”