The controversy in fast charging for electric vehicles (PlugIn …

12 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи The controversy in fast charging for electric vehicles (PlugIn … отключены
Nissan CHAdeMO Electric Cars

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At PlugIn 2010 the agenda included a benign sounding panel session entitled The Near Future of Charging. Electric vehicle charging is rife with geeky details about battery management systems, charge rates, communication with smart grid, connector pinouts and more. Imagine ones surprise when the panel session ended with a loud bit of name-calling between automakers. Clearly we have a controversy brewing in the standards committees and the controversy is part of the delay in developing fast charging capability in electric vehicles. The sooner EV fast charging infrastructure can be made available the more quickly will range anxiety be mitigated.

At the same time one does not want to see multiple fast charging standards, as this was one of the pain points in the previous wave of electric vehicles ten years ago, and we know better than to repeat that story.


What got these automaker representatives to yell at each other over charging cords? The argument is about fast charging standardization so the automakers can get on with installing it in electric vehicles. The Japanese have designed a system, CHAdeMO, which they’re happy with but the SAE is heading in a different direction.

On the one hand it is enticing to simply adopt the existing system, on the other hand the SAE committee has what may be a longer view holistic vision of the best decision.

Last fall the SAE committee defined the J1772 connector to implement AC Level 2 charging. AC Level 2 is single phase AC at up to 240 volts and up to 80 amps charge rate at up to 19.2 kilowatts total power. This is the charging rate which results in the 3-6 hour recharging times which many think are too long.

To make electric vehicles more attractive some kind of fast charging system is believed to be required, and indeed the experience in Japan with deploying the CHAdeMO DC fast charge system is that it resulted in much greater electric vehicle utilization. The Nissan LEAF, due to reach the US market in December, will come with a CHAdeMO charging port alongside the J1772 port.

The panel contained members of the SAE committee’s who are defining the standards. Each described the desired result as a single charging port, giving two reasons. First, car designers want to minimize the number of holes in the car body. The reason was unstated but aerodynamics and strength are two obvious reasons. For a plug-in hybrid like the GM Volt there is one hole for the gasoline filler hose, another hole for the AC Level 2 charge port, and would there be a third hole for a DC Fast charge port?

In Nissan’s case they accommodated this by having one large hole that accommodates both the J1772 and CHAdeMO charge ports. Being an electric car it doesn’t need a hole for the gasoline filler hose it would be unable to use.

The second reason to have one charging port is to reduce confusion. Have two charge ports and one can easily get a little confused especially if one switches between several cars in the family fleet whose makers implement the charge ports in different ways. Have one charge port and there’s no confusion just like today gasoline car owners can choose between three grades of gasoline delivered through the same filler hose.

The existing fast charging system in Japan is in widespread use, primarily by iMiev owners. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and several auto makers jointly created the CHAdeMo specification for DC fast charging. It is already installed along Japans highway system and iMiev owners are happily driving anywhere they want simply by stopping for convenient recharges. The panel included Takefumi Anegawa from TEPCO who showed there was a tremendous increase in electric vehicle traffic once the fast recharging system was installed.

Kristen Helsel from Aerovironment went on to describe DC Fast Charge as the … app of electric vehicles, and Japan’s experience simply demonstrates that claim.

Mr. Anegawa-san from TEPCO described three charging scenario preferences based on real world observation of electric vehicle owners in Japan. At home or at the office one will be there for hours and it is acceptable to wait for hours to recharge the car. Usually.

Nissan CHAdeMO Electric Cars

But when in public such as driving on a highway trip people cannot wait for hours. Usually. While it’s acceptable for home or office charging stations to support 3-6 hour recharging, public charging is preferred to be at a higher rate.

Because J1772 cannot support higher charge rates, a different connector is required for fast charging.

Because the SAE committee vision is to prefer there is only one charge port, they are working on several ideas to combine pins for DC fast charging with the connectors currently used for AC Level 2. The result might be a larger connector that’s usable both with existing charge ports and new ones which would support both AC Level 2 and DC Level 1 and 2.

What’s at stake is the implementation of fast charging, increasing electric vehicle attractiveness by removing one of the limitations. Fast charging is thought to not be a primary need for most electric vehicle drivers since statistics show the vast majority of driving is over short distances. Even though the average driving distance is short there are those exceptional longer trips and there are those exceptional people who routinely drive long distances.

Both cases are better off with fast charging.

The angry shouting came when an audience member, who is in Mitsubishi RD, asked, not too politely, what’s the issue. In other words, why wouldn’t the SAE committee just get on with it by adopting the TEPCO defined CHAdeMO standard? Doing so is enticing in a short term expedient way in that we’d have fast charging electric vehicles much more quickly.

The responses from Mark Duvall, EPRI, and Gery Kissel, GM, reiterated the discussion above that it’s desirable to have a single charge port.

Standards processes can take a long time to work through issues and come to agreement. It’s clear in this case some sausage is being made at the committee meetings, but regardless of the standardization process electric vehicles and fast charging equipment is being sold and being installed today. As another audience member pointed out, the longer the committee takes to come to a decision the more cost will be associated with the fast charging infrastructure which will have been installed by the time the standard is finished.

Nissan CHAdeMO Electric Cars
Nissan CHAdeMO Electric Cars
Nissan CHAdeMO Electric Cars
Nissan CHAdeMO Electric Cars

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