The world of electric vehicle charging infrastructure is still only in its infancy, but it’s growing at an exciting pace. After 5 major automakers announced that they joined forces to deploy 400 ultra-fast (350 kW) charging stations for electric vehicles in Europe last month, now the latest good news comes from EVgo, a leading operator of public EV charging networks in the US.
Today, the company announced that it has broken ground on the very first US public charging station capable of “up 350 kW” output. The station is located in Baker, California.
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EVgo wrote in a press release:
“The new chargers being installed are seven times faster than any fast chargers currently available and represent a new level of convenience for EV charging.”
I think Tesla would have a problem with this statement since its Superchargers are capable of up to 145 kW – so definitely not “seven times faster than any fast chargers,” but definitely seven times faster than most DC fast-charging stations out there, which are mostly limited to a capacity of up to 50 kW.
Of course, that’s the potential total output of the chargers, but there’s no electric car currently available that can even take the Supercharger’s 145 kW, never mind, 350 kW, but the station will be “future-proof” for upcoming electric vehicles – just like the new network in Europe mentioned above.
The new station (rendering above) will link Southern California to Las Vegas:
When complete, EVgo’s High-Power charging station at the site of World’s Tallest Thermometer, will link Southern California to Las Vegas, furthering EVgo’s position as the leading national fast charging provider. The High-Power Charger complements EVgo’s existing fast charging stations throughout California and the U.S., allowing EV drivers to travel with confidence.
It will include four High-Power DC fast chargers capable of up to 350kW each, and will be able to accommodate expansion of up to eight chargers in the future, according to EVgo. The new system will be compatible with CCS and CHAdeMO charging standards. The site will also feature backup battery packs for energy storage powered by a solar canopy.
A little back of napkin math on those 350kW: That’s a max of 35kWh of charge in 6 minutes, roughly equivalent to 100 miles in most EVs. That means a typical 3 hour drive fill up can be had in about 10 minutes which is damn near the energy transfer speed of a gas station pump.
“It’s not going to happen in a year from now. It’s going to be hard. But I think we can get [charging times] down to 5-10 minutes…Current superchargers, which deliver 120 kilowatts of electricity, seemed pretty crazy even 10 years ago.”
While the company says it is breaking ground today, EVgo doesn’t expect the project to be completed until June 2017 – but again, it doesn’t really matter until a vehicle capable of charging at those impressive charge rates can make it to market. We still expect that several similar projects will be announced in the near future.
For Tesla owners out there, remember that Tesla offers a $450 CHAdeMO adapter and sits on the board of the CSS standard so yes Teslas will be able to use this station when it opens next year and barring any surprises, will be able to charge faster at it than any other car.