Let’s get vehicle fast-charging infrastructure on the road

You shouldn’t need a funnel to charge your electric car

July 5, Volvo Cars announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor. This is the first significant move by any of the traditional car makers to fully embrace electrification and make it the core to its business. Volvo Cars stated that they will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across their entire model range and will include fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars.

This announcement is a strong endorsement of the future of e-mobility and will require enormous investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and all the equipment needed to power these chargers.

To make electric vehicle use fully viable on the open road, comprehensive fast-charging networks must be publically available at a similar frequency to gas stations and the charging points must be in sufficient numbers to ensure a short turnaround at the charging station.

DC fast chargers today allow ~80% charge in the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee, but the question that needs addressing urgently now is, which of several EV fast charging standards currently competing for dominance, should be adopted universally. It can’t be that when your app tells you that you’re near a charging station you find on your arrival that your plug is incompatible with the socket or that you have to carry a bunch of adaptors to ensure you are never caught out.

The fast charging standard of choice for the Kia Soul EV, Citroen, Mitsubishi EVs, Peugots, and Nissan is the CHAdeMO. CHAdeMO has been rapidly adopted in Japan and parts of the US, most notably California, while the newer Combined Charging Solution (CCS) has become the fast charging standard of choice for Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Porsche, Volkswagen and now Volvo.

ABB has tried to combat the problem by providing a cost effective multi-standard AC and DC fast charger compatible with all CHAdeMO, CCS and Type 2 AC vehicles, providing an adapter to connect CHAdeMO to Tesla. This charger  typically recharges in 15 and 30 minutes, but a single universal standard like the standard nozzles found for petrol and diesel cars at the gas station would have obvious advantages. It is impossible to imagine arriving at a gas station and finding you need a funnel to get fuel into your tank because the opening is incompatible with the pump nozzle. Now that the electric vehicle looks set to be the most likely private transport vehicle of the future, isn’t it time we agreed on a universal fast-charging standard and get fast-charging infrastructure on the road.

ABB’s multi-standard AC and DC fast charger

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About the author

Frank Muehlon

Frank Mühlon was appointed Managing Director of ABB’s E-Mobility Infrastructure Solutions business in 2017. The global business provides the whole range of cloud connected charging and infrastructure solutions from AC charging, DC fast charging and Ultra-fast charging to eBus / heavy vehicle charging with high power.
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