To speed up the charging process of an electric vehicle (EV), the car manufacturers are following two different paths. The first way is to increase the charging power by using DC charging technology. On one hand this gives the chance for the car manufacturer to get rid of the so-called onboard charger and thereby reduce the price for the car. On the other hand it will increase the price for the charging infrastructure. Up to now, there are two competing (non-compatible) DC charging systems on the market, respectively coming soon: the "CHAdeMO" system and the "Combined Charging System” (CCS).
The second way of speeding up the charging process, is to increase the single phase AC charging current (IEC regulated to max. 20A) or by using three-phase AC.
Renault first with a fast AC charging technique for series production vehicles. Photo: Vattenfall.
Up to now, nearly all EVs only have been single-phase charged with less than 13A. The first car manufacturer, coming with such an AC fast charging technique for series production vehicles, will be Renault in March 2013 with the Renault Zoe. Increasing the charging power level to 22kW (3x32A) will shorten the loading time more than six times!
But in order to reach this goal, the suitable infrastructure is needed. Due to many joint project activities, Renault chose to work with Vattenfall. The public charging infrastructure in Germany is already developed for currents up to 32A so it was chosen as a base for these tests.
During one day, all different charging scenarios have been tested in practice with the new Renault Zoe and its so-called "chameleon charger" with automatic adaptation of the charging current to the infrastructure. Vattenfall charging infrastructure passed all tests without any problems and in the end, the car was fully charged in less than one hour. The Renault charger could go up to a power level of 44kW (3x63A).
Vattenfall Europe Netzservice