General Motors has signed on to a project with Delta Electronics and the US Department of Energy that aims to develop a new “extreme fast EV charger” (XFC) system, capable of providing up to 180 miles of pure-electric driving range in just ten minutes. Numerous other partners are onboard, including DTE Energy in Detroit, Virginia Tech’s Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), solar window producer NextEnergy, the Energy Office at the Michigan Agency for Energy, and Detroit’s Office of Sustainability.
Through their arrangement, the US Department of Energy will share 50 percent of the project’s costs.
Delta, General Motors, et al. will use solid-state transformers (SSTs) and a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) port to deliver as much as 400 kW of power, with a projected grid-to-vehicle efficiency of up to 96.5 percent – a 3.5-percent improvement over current technologies. In addition, the system is expected to have a much smaller physical footprint than a conventional DC fast EV charger (DCFC), being half the size and about a quarter of the weight.
“We’re thrilled to lead such an important project and have a stellar team of researchers and partners in place that are more than ready to take on the challenge of setting a new standard for EV fast charging,” says Delta Electronics President of the Americas M.S. Huang. “By utilizing solid-state transformer technology, we have the opportunity to create unprecedented charging speed and convenience that will ultimately help support the DOE’s strategic goal of increasing EV adoption across the nation.”
Access to fast, reliable charging is seen as a major inhibitor for growth in the EV sector. Last autumn, one Chevrolet Bolt EV owner even went so far as to say that “you’re slowed down by the charging network, not the car, and that’s a bit of a problem.” Not only are stations few and far between in many areas of the United States, but there are myriad charging standards with different maximum power levels, and none of them are anywhere near as fast as fueling up with petrol.
A prototype for the 400-kW Extreme Fast EV Charger that General Motors is helping develop is expected to be ready in 2020.