Talk about rapid charging! Aerovironment today unveiled a near-megawatt scale electric vehicle charging system for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
The AV-800 delivers DC current at 800 volts, up to 999 amps in single-channel mode and 500 amps in independent dual channel mode. The bi-directional unit can also return power to the grid, with an efficiency of over 90%.
To put this in perspective: A normal household socket can typically not sustain more than about 1.5kW of current draw, and that current must be converted to DC for charging, yielding no more than about 1.4kW to the pack. This new charger has the power delivery capability of 570 fully-rated household sockets. To put it another way, it’s about fifty times more powerful than the new US EV charging standard, SAE J1772.
The gold standard for a light, streamlined electric vehicle is to consume 200Wh/mi in typical driving. Most don’t quite hit that mark, but some, such as the EV1 and Aptera 2e, exceed it. If the vehicle could take it, such a charger could add a thousand miles of range in a mere 15-20 minutes (depending on charging efficiency) — the time it takes to eat lunch at a fast food restaurant. A large electric SUV would be capable of adding 300-400 miles range during that lunch break. Even an electric semi hauling a 30 ton load could add nearly 200 miles of range in an hour’s charge time. And paired with a battery buffer, such a system could stabilize the grid rather than stressing it.
Don’t expect to see these popping up around the block tomorrow, mind you. The size of four vending machines, this unit is designed as a testing system for TARDEC, not a mass-market charging solution. But as the state of the art in high power charging continues to advance, keep an eye out. The electric cars of tomorrow may be recharging faster than most people would have dreamed.