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GM Developing Super Fast EV Charging System

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【Summary】Using solid-state transformers, the business recently unveiled a new system that can add up to 180 miles of range in less than 10 minutes (400 kW with 96.5% efficiency).

Michael Cheng    Sep 07, 2018 9:59 AM PT
GM Developing Super Fast EV Charging System

In order for EVs to replace traditional gas-powered cars, they must be capable of recharging quickly, as many individuals compare EV charging times with pumping fuel at a gas station. Because of this, EV manufacturers are currently on a mission to shorten the time it takes to power up an EV battery.

Detroit-based General Motors (GM) could hold the answer to timely challenges associated with EV charging. Using solid-state transformers, the business recently unveiled a new system that can add up to 180 miles of range in less than 10 minutes (400 kW with 96.5% efficiency).

Rapid Charging for EVs

To streamline research and development efforts, the car brand is collaborating with Delta Americas for the three-year project. The duo, with help from the US Department of Energy and other participants, is aiming to release the fast-charging system within the next five years. By 2023, GM intends to have 20 EVs equipped with the robust charging feature. For GM's fast-charging system, Delta Americas will assist in testing the prototypes.

"Everybody would like to replicate what we can do when we're filling a tank of gasoline," said Sam Abuelsamid, Analyst at Navigant Research.

"This is especially true for people who live in cities. It makes a lot of sense to have an EV in urban areas, but people who live there are least likely to have access to charging."

How does GM's fast-charging system compare to other EV chargers? Based on data from Bloomberg, the new charging method adds roughly 18 miles of range per minute. This rate is almost three times faster than Tesla's network of Superchargers, which contribute to six miles of driving range per minute. By comparison, Porsche's average charging rate (for the Taycan EV) comes in at 12.4 miles of range per minute.

At the moment, the Chevrolet Bolt EV (part of GM's umbrella of auto brands) is capable of charging at a rate of 25 miles per hour (connected to a L2/J1772 fast-charging station). On a DC fast-charging hub, the charging rate increases at 90 miles of driving range per 30 minutes.  

Working with Delta Americas

As mentioned earlier, GM has partnered with Delta Americas to develop the cutting-edge charging system. The company's core focuses include industrial automation, smart manufacturing and power electronics. In the automotive sector, Delta Americas is rarely showcased, as its systems mostly underpin existing automotive and consumer products available today.

The California-based company, with presence in the US, Mexico and South America, manufactures highly efficient EV chargers (up to 94%). Delta America's expertise can help businesses comply with a range of standards, including UL, IEC, CHAdeMO, CQC and CNS. Interestingly, the establishment also caters to EV charging solutions for residential and commercial locations. It currently offers an AC charger, as well as low voltage DC charging systems.

"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," cited M.S. Huang, President of Delta Americas.

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