The Nikkei newspaper (subs. req’d) says that a Japanese company has built a quick charge system that can take a battery from zero charge to 50% full in about 3 minutes.
JFE Engineering Corp, based in Yokohama, says that the system will go on sale later this year and has the capability to charge 5 times faster than other such quick charge products. Even though one station costs about $63,000, that’s roughly 40% less than the competition.
Although details on the system are scant, it apparently works by trickle charging a self-contained, specially designed lithium-ion battery. When a user connects up to the system to perform the quick charge, the lithium-ion battery is capable of dumping a huge amount of electricity all at once. The unit is about the size of a gas station pump, and JFE is targeting sales of it towards gas stations and convenience stores.
For installation locations, the JFE system presents some advantages. For one, it works off of a “standard” power source, meaning that it doesn’t require a costly upgrade to more robust circuitry to provide the quick charge. By skipping the upgrades needed of other types of quick chargers, installers can save about $100,000. Also, because the system works off of trickle charging a contained battery, it can charge its own batteries when utilities charge the lowest rates (typically at night), thereby saving the business and the customer money.
JFE says that, for cars to take advantage of the extremely quick charging, the car’s software will need to be changed along with “other adjustments.” If these changes aren’t made, the car will only quick charge as fast as other methods such as the level 3 quick charger from RWE above. Reportedly, JFE is working with auto manufacturers to make cars compatible with their system.
Although the news is exciting, I’m feeling pretty skeptical about it. For one, if it’s a non-standard method of charging, how can JFE expect automakers to adopt it without first getting the charge system standardized by an organization such as SAE? Also, what happens once the self contained battery is discharged? No more quick charge customers for the day? That wouldn’t be good for the travelers who are expecting to be able to refill their EVs in the middle of a longer trip.
Source: Green Car Advisor
Image Credit: RWE Level 3 quick charger