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New Standard Will Cut EV Charging Time

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Rob Spiegel
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Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 6:04:40 AM
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Nice story, Chuck. It's amazing that the change in a standard would have that big an effect on charging hybrids and EVs. Makes you wonder why it took so long, especially on a feature that has such impact on hybrid and EV owners. This standard means you could actually take a trip with an EV.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Standard with big results
Beth Stackpole   10/24/2012 7:53:05 AM
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Definitely an important development and I, too, wonder what took so long. But then again, everything seems to take long in this segment of the market.

Also confusing to me is why does this have impact on commercial and public charging stations, but not for home use? Is it something to do with the voltage and residential infrastructure. Seems to me they'd want to address that.

naperlou
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Re: Standard with big results
naperlou   10/24/2012 10:13:49 AM
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Beth, I think that the issue with using this standard for home use is the current draw.  Typical service to a home is 200A.  This would use as much.  I guess if you were willing to turn off everything in your home then you could use it.  It is not only what is in your home that matters, but the infrastructure serving it.  This would require a big upgrade in that.  Commercial locations will have new infrastructure, thus will be able to deal with the current draw.

DrGamma
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Re: Standard with big results
DrGamma   10/25/2012 9:30:55 AM
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Most home service is 240V at 200A. The indication above is that you use 500V at up to 200A. This is about twice the pwer that is available at a typical home for everything. You would have to resort to a storage system to provide the current for your car at this rate for the shorter time period. 

pkoning
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Re: Standard with big results
pkoning   10/25/2012 9:55:52 AM
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Is this the standard that Tesla already implements?  GM has a habit of claiming to have invented something that others did first, sometimes many decades earlier (the CVT).  Is this another example?

Scott Orlosky
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Re: Standard with big results
Scott Orlosky   10/30/2012 10:26:29 AM
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I guess the lesson in all this, is that progress moves in fits in starts - but it has to start somewhere.  The market will ultimately decide what is a "livable" solution, once the standards wars have died down.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 10:39:29 AM
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Beth, my guess is right about the voltage in the home. I think the important part of this development is that it could free the EV to travel beyond short trips from the home. Waiting 10 or 20 minutes at a public charging station is not that inconvenient.

Charles Murray
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Re: Standard with big results
Charles Murray   10/24/2012 6:09:59 PM
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Most homes have single-phase AC, Beth, which won't cut it for fast charging. Fast charging requires three-phase AC (and the associated higher voltages and currents), which is typically used in industrial applications today. In contrast, today's home-charging systems usually use single-phase AC at 120V and 15A (about 16 hours or less) or single-phase AC at 240V and 15A (about 8 hours or less). SAE's new standard calls for up to 200A and up to 500V. Making those modifications to a home would be very expensive.

GeorgeG
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Re: Standard with big results
GeorgeG   10/25/2012 11:22:41 AM
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Of course you mean most homes in North America, not France, for example. In any case, a home either has a 24 kVA or 48 kVA power entry. A full charge is perhaps 16 kWh. The math says 20 minutes but likely more if you want to keep the lights on or less if you have storage. But everything has to start somewhere. Setting the vehicle capability high in a standardized way permits standards to be developed. 10 minute charging implies 96 kVA at the vehicle and ~10 kWh of storage in a residential charger. Or, houses could be supplied with 240/120 3-phase (wild phase) power, like many commercial buildings, increasing the service to 83 kVA for the cost of one wire. But in the real world, most people don't drive around running on empty. Nor is their average time parked in the drive less than 30 minutes. Obviously for PHEVs - you get what you get based on time available but full charge is only 4-10 kWh so 10 minute charge at home may just be doable.                         

vandamme
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Re: Standard with big results
vandamme   10/25/2012 8:19:59 PM
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I don't need to recharge at home in ten minutes; 100 minutes is fine, or more likely 8 hours, when the electricity is cheaper. A slow charge is better on the batteries, too.

gubbin
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Re: Standard with big results
gubbin   10/24/2012 10:06:17 AM
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Unfortunately, SAE took so long to release the standard that the West Coast charger network had to opt for the existing Japanese ChaDeMo DCFC standard, already supported by the Nissan Leaf.

And, of course, China, Renault and Tesla have come up with their own standards as well.

And have you SEEN ChaDeMo and J1772-DC connectors?  They're huge!

Unless there's an easy migration route from ChaDeMo to J1772-DC or some pressure to migrate to one of the smaller proprietary connections, we're in for a whole new VHS-Beta-Videodisc-style format war.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/24/2012 10:57:47 AM
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A Beta VHS war would be a nightmare for the public charging world. I would think that war would be expensive all the way around.

NedFreed
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Re: Standard with big results
NedFreed   10/26/2012 2:11:00 PM
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A standards war is almost inevitable at this point. On one side we have CHAdeMO (up to 500VDC at up to 125A), which uses its own (large) connector and signalling is done using CANbus. On the other side we have the new J1772-DC standard (200-450VDC at up to 200A), which employs one of the most hideous connectors I've ever seen, and uses homeplug power line carrier for signalling. (The original J1772 scheme, which the new one also supports, did its signalling by varying the duty cycle of a 1 Khz  square wave.) And then there's Tesla, which has their own fast DC charging scheme, using a much smaller very sleek connector employing who-knows-what type of signalling.

A fair number of cars already have CHAdeMO support. And the State of California is reportedly in the process of installing around 200 CHAdeMO chargers. Tesla is rolling out superchargers in various places.


It may be possible to build adaptors - the Tesla Model S comes with a J1772 adaptor that works reasonably well in my limited (1 month) experience. But building an adator that handles 90Kw isn't exactly trivial even if you're able to run the DC through it directly, which is by no means certain to be possible in all cases.


Speaking as a veteran of the IETF/ITU standards war, I can't say I'm looking forward to another one.

kyleafdotcom
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Re: Standard with big results
kyleafdotcom   10/25/2012 9:55:26 AM
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I was wondering the same thing. Why on earth wouldn't the SAE just adopt the existing ChaDeMo standard that has existed for many years, and is already installed on thousands of vehicles worldwide? Okay, so now we have a standard. What do we need to do to get chargers installed in useable spaces nationwide? can we get SAE chargers in rest areas along interstates? What about shopping centers? National parks? How about at dealerships that sell EV's (and leave the dang things "ON" after hours)? Let's move this along now!

Charles Murray
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Re: Standard with big results
Charles Murray   10/24/2012 6:16:54 PM
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I asked the same question about why it took so long, Rob. Their answer is a logical one. Getting a consensus of 190 technical specialists is difficult. That reason apparently didn't stop the ChaDeMo standard, however.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/25/2012 5:19:04 AM
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At the Siemens conferece, I heard of another solution to help EVs travel farther than short trips -- battery swaps. You pull into a station and they take your battery and replace it with a charged one. Apparently this is more common outside the U.S.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Standard with big results
Beth Stackpole   10/25/2012 7:19:46 AM
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A Better Place, a company formed by ex-SAP exec Shai Agassi, is one of the more prominent companies pursuing the battery swap model. They are pilot testing their changing station network in Israel and have plans to expand in Europe and China, but I don't believe the U.S. is on board quite yet.

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/25/2012 7:27:07 AM
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One thing I was wondering about battery swapping, Beth, is how they make sure they're trading an equivalent battery. Wouldn't be common to swap and older battery for a newer one? Or vice versa?

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Standard with big results
Beth Stackpole   10/25/2012 7:35:57 AM
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That's a great point, Rob. What if you purchase a vehicle that by its class and cost, has a more robust (i.e., more expensive battery) in play or even just a newer version of the standard battery used by all the participants in the swapping network. I wouldn't want to trade up my high-ticket battery for anything sub-standard.

In the Better Place, scenario, people don't actually own the batteries, they take part in a network where the batteries are swapped out and consumers simply pay for energy they use. I think the network is also built to accomodate a specific car model, although I'm not entirely sure on that point. Seems like there is still a lot to be worked out before it could become a truly supportable model.

kellerbl
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Re: Standard with big results
kellerbl   10/25/2012 9:43:51 AM
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Beth,

 

one approach for swapping that might work would be for cars to be equipped for two batteries - one that comes with the car and space for another one that is there for swapping networks. It could also then work for those who could leave one battery at home charging during the day and use two only when going on a long trip. These are heavy and you could save by carting around only half the battery capacity when you don't need more. This might work if each battery gives about 100 miles or so of driving capcaity. Are we there yet?

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Standard with big results
Beth Stackpole   10/26/2012 7:31:24 AM
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@kellerbl: I like that idea. So the swapping or second battery could be more of standard commodity so there's no worry about features/functions/condition. The primary battery could then be the platform for EV maker differentiation.

kellerbl
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Re: Standard with big results
kellerbl   10/26/2012 9:27:47 AM
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Thanks Beth. Of course larger vehicles may have room for multiple secondary batteries for swapping. I can also imagine a trunk design that could allow more secondary batteries to be loaded at the loss of cargo space, assuming weight balancing could be accommodated. If the swappable battery's cost was $2K or less, I could imagin people buying a couple to swap at home and charge whenever they get the best rate. This also helps to deal with the issue of coming home to park and not having enough KWh left to go somewhere (perhaps an emergency trip). It would be nice to have that spare battery you could swap in if you needed to go somewhere on short notice.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/26/2012 12:22:23 PM
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Do you have any idea how these battery swapping programs are working, Beth? For now, these programs seem to be the only solution to help EVs go beyond their limited range.

CharlesM
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Re: Standard with big results
CharlesM   10/26/2012 12:55:36 PM
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I haven't heard of any legit battery swapping programs. Better Place has been working on it for years, but it's based outside the U.S. and I don't know what if any progress they've made toward getting car manufacturers to embrace it, which would be required.  I like this ebuggy idea, which does the same thing much less intrusively: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1079294_forget-better-place-hook-your-electric-car-to-a-battery-trailer

However, there are still safety issues and external power input needs that would need to be resolved. And cars like the Leaf are not rated for towing, though that could probably be amended if the battery trailers could weigh within 500 lbs or so. 

And again, if Envia batteries pan out none of this may matter.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/31/2012 7:20:08 AM
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Thanks for the link, Charles. I wonder if something like the e-buggy could catch on. Seems that it would require quite a bit of infrastructure to make it work.

CharlesM
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Re: Standard with big results
CharlesM   10/31/2012 12:40:49 PM
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I agree the ebuggy, while neat, has its own set of challenges. And that fast charging for 30 minutes or less is more practical than battery swapping. Could they even work that to less than 30 minutes? That could change, but so will battery chemistries.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/31/2012 1:02:29 PM
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I agree with you Charles. My guess is that there will be a combination of improved charging times and an improvement in batteries. We're still at the very beginning of this technology.

CharlesM
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Re: Standard with big results
CharlesM   10/26/2012 1:29:27 PM
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...these programs seem to be the only solution to help EVs go beyond their limited range.

P.S. If you can't afford a Tesla S and your driving needs require more than 50 miles one way, or thereabouts, a pure EV is probably not your solution today.  That's why there are plug-in hybrids here and coming, which allow pure EV mode for much of our shorter trips. As Volt drivers have proven, real world gasoline use is drastically reduced even with a pure EV range of only 35 miles.

Also, if Envia's promises prove reasonably true, I suspect that competitor cell manufacturers will very soon find comparable performance by different but similar means. Alternately this technology could be licensed. So this could be big enough until the next "perfect battery" is realized practically.

billvon
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Re: Standard with big results
billvon   10/26/2012 1:19:11 PM
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I can't see battery swapping ever working.  Consider the challenges:

 

1) You are swapping out a very expensive part of the vehicle, and they degrade.  Would you be happy swapping out your brand new $10,000 battery for one with half the capacity?  On the other hand, if your mechanic told you you'd need a new $10,000 battery in a few months, would you pay it if your alternative would be to just 'swap it out' for $50 and saddle someone else with the replacement costs?

 

2) Batteries are physically big and heavy.  Many city gas stations won't want to pay for the real estate/storage facilities required.


3) Batteries are hard to change. The Leaf battery weighs almost 700 pounds, and the machinery/fixturing to handle that kind of weight is not simple or cheap.

 

4) Li-ion batteries do not last long if stored fully charged, so you'd reduce the overall life of the pack by storing fully charged batteries.  (And if you're not storing them fully charged you lose most of the usefulness of the battery swap station.)

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/31/2012 10:24:55 AM
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Billvon, Every one of your reasons why battery swapping won't work has merit. Your comment lays out why this concept will likely not work. Quick charging seems to be the likely solution to letting EVs off the leash.

bobjengr
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Re: Standard with big results
bobjengr   10/25/2012 4:23:53 PM
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 I also am amazed at the length of time to develop (or publish) the standard.  Looks to me like the automotive industry would begin with a viable standard and design around that or at least plan on their product being tested to it.   I am not in the automotive industry so I don't really know the ins and outs of the industry but it does seem strange. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Standard with big results
Rob Spiegel   10/31/2012 7:14:22 AM
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At a conference last week, I spoke with a design engineer from Lear. He is involved in crafting drive chains. He said the standard does not affect how the car is designed. It only affects how the car gets charged up.

Lardo140
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Still burning coal
Lardo140   10/25/2012 9:48:25 AM
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How much coal are we going to have to burn in order to supply energy for all of these charging stations?

ChriSharek
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Re: Still burning coal
ChriSharek   10/25/2012 9:56:59 AM
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I love that argument.  So, you're comparing a federally regulated stationary power plant stack discharge to non regulated mobile tailpipes of vehicles?  Clearly there was no thought in that comment.

ChriSharek
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Re: Still burning coal
ChriSharek   10/25/2012 10:02:22 AM
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At least this coal burning is domestically made energy rather than part of the $37 Billion we send each month to foreign countries that want to kill us.  The implementation of EVs and PHEVs could have profound impacts on our debt while creating thousands of new jobs in the energy production and distribution related fields. 

GeorgeG
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Re: Still burning coal
GeorgeG   10/25/2012 10:52:59 AM
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You don't have to burn any coal. No one is holding a gun to your head. It's a concious decision on your part to do so. Each and every individual American uses 3.4 tons of coal each year. Good choice. There are plenty of better energy sources. The only excuse for coal is that it's cheap mostly because they are exempt from environmental regulations which everyone else must meet and because no one put a value on the land use (now over 200 mountains and 15000 miles of waterways obliterated). At the current rate, in your lifetime you personally will have destroyed 2.5 acres of land and along with 250 friends killed one human. Nice one.      

billvon
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Re: Still burning coal
billvon   10/26/2012 1:11:41 PM
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In my case, no coal at all needs to be burned.  I have a 10kW solar system on my house and I use it to charge my Leaf. 

Lardo140
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Standard with big results
Lardo140   10/25/2012 10:09:05 AM
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Another question; Okay... 10 minutes get's us to 80% charged. How long will it take to get to 100%?

Charles Murray
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Re: Standard with big results
Charles Murray   10/25/2012 12:01:39 PM
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Good question, Lardo140. I'll try to get an answer for you (or maybe one of our readers knows the answer). The last 20% takes a long time because the charge rate slows down at that point. Because these battery packs are so expensive, everyone is afraid of damaging them through overcharging.

tekochip
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Re: Standard with big results
tekochip   10/25/2012 2:50:49 PM
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80% is pretty good and should get you to the next charge station.

CharlesM
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Re: Standard with big results
CharlesM   10/25/2012 3:50:33 PM
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10 minutes get's us to 80% charged. How long will it take to get to 100%?

You typically would not fast charge past 80%. You'd revert to Level 1 or 2, as it is then approaching the top-off region.  At level 2 that would typically add about 24 miles of range per hour for a 6.6kW on-board charger. 

Also, this is not compatible with Teslas.

GlennA
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Re: Standard with big results
GlennA   10/25/2012 9:46:56 PM
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CharlesM;  Recently I have met people involved with electric transit buses.  And they prefer to discharge no more than to 30%, and not charge to more than 80%.  Past this range the lifetime of some battery chemistries is shortened.  They prefer a sodium nickel chloride battery since it is less sensitive to charging cycles, with an operating temperature of about 300C.

CharlesM
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Re: Standard with big results
CharlesM   10/26/2012 10:38:15 AM
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...they prefer to discharge no more than to 30%, and not charge to more than 80%.

That's the principle with the Volt's pack, and I and many other LEAF drivers try to do that with our cars too. I even try to do that with all my lithium portable devices. Downside is that you're paying for and lugging around twice the battery you use. Anyway, the CHAdeMO fast chargers (eg, Blink) do not allow fast charging past 80%.

BTW, many in the LEAF community believe there was a large lobbying effort toward this new SAE standard largely to orphan manufacturers like Nissan that had already settled on an incompatible standard.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Standard with big results
Jack Rupert, PE   10/29/2012 10:21:08 AM
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Although, what happens if you do that multiple times?  Like always?

joseph.holmes
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Totally Pedestrian Question...
joseph.holmes   10/25/2012 12:15:43 PM
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So, I'm not an Engineer, so, this may be an incredibly ignorant question, but, from a consumer (who is *extremely* interested in getting an electric car) standpoint I wonder about compatibility. The article mentions that the quick charging stations won't be available for homes (which is fine), but also mentions that the hardware will have two extra pins... will the interfaces still be able to be used with home-based charging stations?

William K.
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New standard will cut EV charging time
William K.   10/25/2012 10:30:39 PM
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The interesting thing about the whole standard is that there is no mention of how the heat generated during charging will be handled, nor any indication of how the battery technology will change to handle the massive amount of energy dumped into the battery so very rapidly. WE could supply a thousand amp charger and probably melt most of the current batteries during a two minute "really fast charge". My point is that no mention has been made about the other end of the charging string-the battery. That is a serious issue that could use a bit of discussion.

billvon
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Re: New standard will cut EV charging time
billvon   10/26/2012 5:12:22 PM
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Keep in mind that this is not a battery pack design, or a battery pack controller - it is just the charger side of things.  The battery pack is responsible for its own thermal management.  The battery pack can request as much (or as little) power as it wants, so no risk of having a high power charger damage a small/low power battery.

William K.
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E.V. Charging / battery swaping
William K.   10/27/2012 11:53:58 AM
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Battery swaping is a stupid dream for all of the reasons already given, and also because of the skill needed to do it. Not only the electrical connections, but also the mechanical attachments will certainly stump a whole large segment of the population, with a lot of failures resulting.

And, once again, there has been no real consideration of the battery side of the much higher recharge rate. Could you even drive away in a car whose battery was already at the upper temperature limit, or even higher? How much battery life would be lost in such a charge? What about connector melt-down"? In the industrial world, where reliability matters a bit, the high current connectors used are fairly expensive, and they require a bit of skill to use and replace. There is the very real chance that a damaged fast charge connector would continue to be used and damage the connectors on the next few vehicles being charged. 

As for the connector standards, and then the commuynication standards, we are probably likely to see a situation more like we have with computers, where the goal seems to be that each application uses a connector unlike any other in existance. This is done to assure a captive market for replacements. 

So the result will probably be that charging stations will need to deal with many different interfaces, even if some allegedly universal standard is created. The resulting confusion will probably do more to damage the reputation of electric vehicles than any other problems would. It will be interesting indeed to see if there is any way that it could be made to work. The one way that I can see is for the charger to be part of the vehicle and the connector be for the AC power input, which would utilize current industrial standards for connectors and the actual connections. 

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