Right now, refilling your electric vehicle is quite a timely process. Even the best EV charging systems can take several hours to fully charge a depleted battery, and while this might be fine and dandy for commuter cars, it makes living with an electric car as a daily driver a bit more difficult.
But fast charging stations are coming, and could be a real game changer. Coulomb Technologies and Aker Wade are teaming up their technologies to bring a “Level III” charging stations to the world later this year. These stations could charge an electric car in as little as 15 minutes. Now that’s impressive.
Coulomb Technologies is teaming their ChargePoint Network with Aker Wade’s Fast Charging technology, and field tests in Tokyo have been promising. The Fast Charging system uses a special 480 volt outlet, and depending on the vehicle (and whether it has been optimized for fast charging) can fill a depleted battery in about an hour, or as little as 15 minutes. The press release says that fast charging increased electric vehicle usage by 50%—and that makes sense. You can take your little EV out for a jaunt around town, go shopping, plug it in, and have a full battery by the time you get back.
Eight hours is a long time to wait for a full charge that is, at best, a 100-200 miles of driving. Fast charging will simply make more sense for most people who want to buy a fully capable car. Pairing this technology with ChargePoint goes a long way towards making it feasible for mass acceptance. ChargePoint is essentially an electric charging service. You get a card, swipe it at a charging station, and whammo, start filling your EV or plug-in hybrid with electrons. ChargePoint features Smart Grid integration, a streamlined billing system, and you can find stations online. According the the manufacturers, this Level III fast charging capability is being integrated into vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-Miev
The stations are going to be available in the third quarter of 2010. Turn the page to read the full press release.