BMW and Porsche are already working together and with other major automakers, like Mercedes and Ford, on the major Ionity ultra-fast (350 kW) electric car charging network in Europe.
But now they want to lay a path to improve that charge rate to 450 kW in order to enable quicker electric car charging.
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BMW is leading the project through the ‘FastCharge’ consortium in partnership with other companies, like Porsche, Allego, Siemens and others.
Interestingly, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure supports the project with a € 7.8 million grant, which is supervised by the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Organization (NOW).
They have now confirmed that the bulk of their research will focus on improving charging rates using the existing Combined Charging System (CCS), but at a voltage of 900 volts and an amplitude of 500 amperes for a charge rate of 450 kW.
The group sees this charge rate as ideal to charge an average long-range electric car in about 15 mins.
BMW wrote in a press release today:
“The collaborative project studies all aspects of fast charging in practical application, aiming to introduce and manufacture the required technologies on an industrial scale. This is why, alongside analyzing potential capacity increases in the charging process, the project also investigates the prerequisites and processes for the operation of ultrafast charging systems, including an automated registration and billing process for customers.”
They also specifically mention finding ways to cool down charging cables, plugs and vehicle power sockets during the charging process.
450 kW sounds like a reasonable target for passenger cars powered by batteries. We know that larger battery systems in electric trucks and buses can take higher charge rates, but passenger cars will never carry such large battery packs and their limit will be lower.
Considering charging time only matter for long-distance travel or commercial applications since most charging is done overnight or whenever a car is parked for long periods of time, there’s not really an actual necessity to bring electric car charging to the speed of refueling a tank of gas as a lot of people claim.
Nonetheless, something like 15 minutes would certainly make long-distance travel with electric cars more convenient than it is today.
I think it’s important that automakers get more involved in the process to bring the charging standards to that level since as BMW explains, it’s not just the charging station technology that needs to improve, but the actual vehicles need to support it, which is not the case today.