Date:18 January 2013
Range anxiety is a known – and serious – problem for drivers of electric vehicles. It’s not just that EVs typically have only a moderate range between charges (though that’s improving). More to the point, charging can be a drawn-out business: overnight, if you are using a regular AC mains supply.
Now there’s news of a fast-charger for electric cars that cuts recharging time to just one-and-a-half hours. The design being tested by Volvo on electric versions of its C30 compact hatch operates six times faster than today’s on-board devices.
The new 22 kW fast-charger is the world’s first charger that operates on a three-phase supply and is at the same time small enough to be fitted in an EV. Its two charging options are:
• A three-phase 32-amp outlet gives an 80 km range in 30 minutes. A full charge takes 90 minutes.
• Plugging into an ordinary single-phase 230 V household outlet gives a charging time of 8 – 10 hours, depending on the available current.
“The user can ‘top up’ the battery pack with electricity one or more times during the day. This means that the total daily range is significantly extended, yet with the same low operating cost compared to a car with a conventional power train,” says Lennart Stegland, vice-president of electric propulsion systems for Volvo. “Giving customers more usable hours each day means that electric cars become more viable as a commercial proposition, in both the private and public sectors.”