New EV Trend: Fast Tracking Ultra Fast DC Fast Chargers

4 months ago by Mark Kane 46

EVgo’s latest fast charging station to feature 4 “High-Power” 350 kW charging terminals, as well as a solar canopy and battery back-up

Navigant Research notes a new trend in the charging infrastructure business – ultra-fast charging.

The time when 50 kW chargers (CHAdeMO and CCS Combo) were considered the basic element of a “fast” charging networks will now seemingly fade away, as new longer-range EVs need even more power to replenish range in an acceptable time.

ChargePoint Express Plus (shown in “available” and “in use” modes)

The new “ultra-fast” charging standard are seeing today goes up to a whopping 350 kW (although 150 kW maybe ultimately be the more appropriate intermediate step).

The first 150-350 kW stations are to be installed this year in both Europe and the United States.

EVgo recently announced the first US-based 350 kW station was under construction in California, and will be operational in June.  Meanwhile, ChargePoint introduced its own ChargePoint Express Plus chargers that could handle up to 400 kW.

Similar projects in range of 150-350 kW are planned for Europe, such as the massive 400 station project (350 kW) that was announced by Ford, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Daimler. Other plans in Europe have been put forward (or hinted at) by Fastned, CLEVER with E.ON, and other players.

The big question is whether more expensive, higher-power stations become economically viable for operators, as no ‘traditional’ 50 kW public fast charging network is actually profitable today:

“With the knowledge that BEVs are being developed with much faster charging capabilities, companies considering adding DC fast charging stations are now challenged on how to future-proof their investments. The tradeoff is between keeping the not inconsequential cost of offering DC fast charging under control today while preventing the sites from having to undergo costly increases in power delivery from the utility and having to replace the existing equipment in future years.

Companies investing in 350 kW fast charging stations today are hard pressed to get payback in electricity sales within 3-5 years, so to ask them to make ready a location with distribution equipment and capacity for up to 1 GW of EV charging is a tall order. Site hosts anticipating the ultrafast future of charging will also need to work with utilities to identify locations where they will not be disrupting the distribution grid.”

Navigant Research

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46 responses to "New EV Trend: Fast Tracking Ultra Fast DC Fast Chargers"

  1. Four Electrics says:

    Gas stations deliver roughly 1.5 megawatts equivalent, and hydrogen stations 500 kW, so these new stations are getting closer. It’s a ball game!

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      It depends how you count. Current California requirements for still relatively low H2 stations are:
      “1. Minimum Peak Fueling Capacity for 700 Bar Refueling: Each station shall have the capability to provide a minimum of five 4kg H70-T40 fills per hour, back-to-back, without vehicle users having to wait for the station to recharge. Minimum peak fueling capacity refers to the station’s ability to serve peak fueling demand between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.”
      This minimum is 5*4kg*33kWh/kg=0.66 MW, but newer stations have higher peak capacity, like 33 kg/h, and bus stations can be much more “powerful” without much cooperation from electric grid. Unless it is back-to-back refill line, 5 kg H2 refill takes 2-4 minutes depending on outside temperature, or at around 3 MW rate.

      U.S. gas stations has limit of 10 gal/min for light vehicles only. Big trucks can take more. Airliners can be refueled at 1000 gal/minutes, some 2 GW rate.

      Anyway 350 kW (or some 220 kW at 800V) is great step forward comparing to what was available before.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Hi, regarding the hydrogen filling stations, can you provide a link with any detail? I haven’t found anything with any specificity.

        For instance, how many electric kwh are required to get the H2 into the car to make a Mirai or Clarity go 300 miles? Or, what horsepower compressors and/or other devices are necessary to dispense the hydrogen? In other words, what is the ‘capacity’ of a typical station, and do they usually have a continuously operating compressor the fills a buffer tank and then the dispensing takes place from the tank?

        (Obviously if it is done this way, the tank must be kept at OVER 10,000 PSI so that the H2 car can be filled to the brim).

        Gasoline and Diesel dispenseries as you know use a trivial amount of electricity. The decades ago individual pump per hose is long gone, and I suspect the typical 1/2 hp pump has been displaced by a somewhat larger ‘in the tank’ submersible that handles a multitude of hoses simultaneously.

        1. unlucky says:

          They do have buffer tanks. I don’t really know any more than that.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Yes, well, I just said that in my comment. That is why it was addressed to him to answer.

            1. unlucky says:

              You put a question mark on that sentence. So it appeared to be a query. So I answered what I could. And like I said, that’s all I can answer. I’ve seen the stations, they clearly have buffer tanks, you can see the venting for them and also seem to be somewhat modular (resembling a shipping container but I didn’t look close enough to be sure it really was one). Also they make noise when used.

              That’s really all I know.

        2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Bill Howland:
          “Hi, regarding the hydrogen filling stations, can you provide a link with any detail? I haven’t found anything with any specificity.

          For instance, how many electric kwh are required to get the H2 into the car to make a Mirai or Clarity go 300 miles? Or, what horsepower compressors and/or other devices are necessary to dispense the hydrogen? In other words, what is the ‘capacity’ of a typical station, and do they usually have a continuously operating compressor the fills a buffer tank and then the dispensing takes place from the tank?

          (Obviously if it is done this way, the tank must be kept at OVER 10,000 PSI so that the H2 car can be filled to the brim).”

          Yes, they typically have buffer tank.
          They are very different and I don’t know full details of every one, and I don’t think the companies would want to publish full technical information on something newly developed. E.g. it may use “classic” multi-stage mechanical compressors and gaseous H2. Or stations from Linde may be using ionic liquid compressors:

          Or cryo pump that just evaporates liquid hydrogen:

          Or electrochemical compressors:

          Current car stations in California mostly have compressed gaseous H2 delivered/stored, some use liquid. Industrial gas companies typically have gaseous H2 deliveries in small quantities only, larger quantities are delivered liquid, or by pipelines, or generated on site.
          On energy usage to make it liquid, see IDEALHY data:

          1. Bill Howland says:

            THanks zzzzzzz for digging up the information.. To the extent they have specs on the equipment, it will be easier to visualize what equipment will exist at a typical dispensery… Thanks again for the thorough answer.

    2. pjwood1 says:

      Good thing EVs dont need to charge, like cars need gas.

    3. Charlie says:

      Convenience stores are salivating at the prospect of having captive consumers for the 20 mins the new high speed chargers are promising

      1. Leptoquark says:

        Already happening, for example, one of a dozen similar sites in Maryland:

        Ultimately, I think that’s the only way to really make money on charging is for a convenience store to occupy the drivers time while they DC fast charge.

        1. Ed Stein says:

          Agree. The model of trying to make money by upcharging the electricity will not work. Evgo charges enough to make a Leaf cost as much to drive as a 10-15 mpg truck. Gas stations have to take over, up charge minimally like they do with gas, and make the money in the store.

    4. Gas station delivers about 21 MW of HHV chemical energy (higher heating value). If you consider that efficiency of a gas hybrid cars such as Toyota Prius is about 33%, that give about 7 MW of useful power. That does not count that additionnal useful heat from heater core is used to heat the car in winter…

      So, in summer, filling-up at Gas station is about 140 time faster that a DC “Fast” charger and about 20 times faster that the future 350 kW “Ultra-Fast” charger. In winter, Gas station fills a higher rate of useful energy (heat and power)

      Gas Flow: 10 US galons/minute = 38 Liters/min
      A Liter of Gas contains about 10 kWh HHV
      That means 380 (kWh HHV)/min and (X 60 min/h) 22 800 (kWh HHV)/hour or 22 800 kW HHV.

      For exemple, last time filled our Chevrolet Volt, it took about 53 seconds to get an autonomy of about 500 km (300 miles) with 29 Liters (7,6 US Galons)

      1. Matt Casters says:

        So I calculated the energy content of 60 liters of diesel fuel, about what I can load into my current car. Google says it’s about 650kWh. Diesels have an efficiency of 25%-30% says some wikipedia page. So let’s do 30% that’s equivalent to a 195kWh battery which get’s charged in a few minutes. So I don’t think the gap is as wide as we tend to think.
        Upping the Amps is hard. One can wish for a 2000V/400A system delivering that in 15 minutes. However, such a system would also be hugely over-designed given the fact we rarely drive these long distances. Perhaps it would be better for folks to change their behavior slightly with pros (charging at home, slow but very convenient) and cons (slower charging on the long distance travels).

    5. speculawyer says:

      Need to take the energy efficiency in consideration. Yeah, gasoline is a fast transfer of potential energy into a vehicle . . . but the ICE vehicle operates so horribly inefficiently that it needs it.

  2. Mike I. says:

    I expect that many “Ultra Fast Charging” sites will implement stationary battery storage in order to avoid being buried in utility demand charges. In addition, it will allow greater peak usage without increasing its grid connection size or impacting other grid users.

    1. That’s undoubtedly where we’re going but there a reason you don’t see that common just yet, and that’s the extraordinary expense of the on site energy storage system. If you’re dealing with a DCQC site that has 6 to 8 stations you need to have at least a coupe hundred kWh of storage to alleviate demand charges.

      What will likely happen for a while (until battery storage is less expensive) is site managers will negotiate a higher per kWh electric cost, but one that does not carry any demand charges. For instance, they agree to pay $.15 per kWh instead of the local rate of $.10 per kWh. This way they know exactly how much the energy cost,s and can charge accordingly. Demand charges can fluctuate violently, making it difficult to properly price out the fees to use the equipment.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        The issue with that of course, is State Dependent….. In other words does the State Regulatory Commission allow individual customers to privately negotiate rates or custom-design their own rate schedules? The point can be made that other large customers also desire ‘preferential rate schedules’ and to do it for some customers and not others imposes a hardship.

        I have heard certain cases where a utility privately ‘relented’ if the alternative was a major customer going ‘off the grid’ and cancelling their usage entirely by the customer providing their own generation – which has happened in my area:

        For about ten years, a major car wash chain used only Natural Gas from the Utility – they had absolutely no Electric usage since they generated 100% of their own electricity for the car wash, detail/oil change shop/ and convenience store. Of course, in that application it was very economical for them to do that, since they could use every bit of waste heat from the ICE generator, with overall efficiencies approaching 75%. They recaptured both jacket heat, and exhaust heat to heat the car wash water.

        Lately, the rate schedules have changed for all commercial customers, and the generator installations are now only used during peak times to minimize electrical demands. Of course, each location got a new 480 volt/800 ampere electric service, which allows the generators to be shut down overnight.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Tom: “…site managers will negotiate a higher per kWh electric cost, but one that does not carry any demand charges. ”

          Do you have a particular case in New Jersey where this has happened? This is a key aspect of your point: has this happened yet or are you guessing? I’m presuming the latter unless you can point to a specific instance.

          I know of several cases where a business would love to ‘negotiate out of demand charges’ – but that is the point of demand charges in the first place, which is, if you have a ‘HORRIBLE’ load, you should pay for it since the utility has to provide expensive facilities to provide it.

          It can’t happen in my state other than by legislation specific to EV’s. And that hasn’t happened yet.

      2. No can do in California (and other states).

        The state Public Utilites Commission regulates rates. Rates are not individually negotiated.

        It’s nice to suggest a way to diminish Demand Charges, but that isn’t going to happen in California without regulatory approval.

        I suspect it will not happen at all. The reason is simple… if the monopoly utilities can price private vendors out of the EV charging market, that gives them leverage to monopolize another market that is “underserved”.

        The monopoly utilities are just saving us, courtesy of huge demand fees, while taking over more markets and increasing revenue to themselves.


      3. unlucky says:

        $.15 per kWh for high draw power? That must mean in the middle of the night only. You’re not going to be able to negotiate “up” to that for daytime power because it would actually be “down” from what you would otherwise pay.

        1. Robert Middleswarth says:

          I pay 9.5 Cents 24/7 without demand in my area. 15 cents would be high even for days hours in my area.

    2. Nix says:

      Tesla did that a few years ago with one of their supercharger stations in California (I can’t remember which one, but I’ve posted a link before — ibid).

      With the doubling of the number of supercharger stations this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started installing battery packs in locations where peak demand charges are high.

      1. Mike I. says:

        Tesla, of course, has all the Supercharger and PowerPack battery technology in-house. They already have many Supercharger sites, especially in California, that have battery packs to peak shave the demand from the Superchargers. Tejon Ranch is the most famous installation and Tesla has used that site as an example of how effective it is in presentations.

        I was speaking about other fast charge networks and vendors that don’t have the stationary battery expertise in-house.

      2. unlucky says:

        They did this at some stations a long time ago. I don’t know if it is policy now or just was for experiments.

        They also seem to limit some stations peak draws during the day, presumably to avoid demand charges or demand overload.

        1. The Tesla Superchargers in California at:

          1) Barstow
          2) Giltory
          3) Maybe Tejon Ranch

          All have battery storage. Barstow has solar.

          1. Mike I. says:

            These Supercharger sites are also known to have PowerPack battery storage systems.

            Santa Ana

            However, people have observed that the disconnect on the solar array at Barstow has been in the OFF position for long periods of time. I don’t know its current status.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              If I recall the figures correctly, the solar canopy at a SuperCharger station is only going to supply about 2%-5% of the power that a single charging stall needs while charging, so whether it’s on or off won’t make much difference.

              Of course, it will help to the extent that it can — slowly — charge the buffer battery when the station is empty.

  3. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    What’s really more needed are AC L2 10KW+ chargers at busy locations.
    At Malls where there a literally thousands of people/cars, there are 2 to 4 6.6KW chargers……..that’s pretty damn LAME!

    At some Colleges, they had 3 chargers (1 J1772 each) at 2 parking structures…….lol, and there are thousands of students there and I see many PHEV’s and BEV’s, at least more than 20 of them in one parking structure.
    at UOP?????? NOTHING!!!!!! WTF???

    1. unlucky says:

      I don’t think on-the-go L2 (like at malls) is a long-term business. People will be charging at home. Sure, in the short term there are people who cannot charge at home because they are renting at a place with no EVSEs. But that won’t last. Apartments and dorms will put in EVSEs. Even rental homes will be more likely than not to have them eventually.

    2. Knut Erik Ballestad says:

      This is the way to do it:

      In phase 1, Fortum installs 100 22kW charging spots in the mall garage (+2 fast DC chargers).
      – Charging is activated by Fortum (charging operator) subscribers using RFID, or by phone/SMS (more expensive)
      – The 100 spots are balanced using a battery pack to avoid high effect charges.
      – If all available effect/power is used and central battery is depleted, power load reduction/balancing is being used, reducing the effect for each car a bit.
      – Customers are billed according to charging speed plateau, 3,6kW / 11kW single-phase AC, or 11kW / 22kW 3-phase AC.
      – 3,6kW is offered ‘free’ for residential customers in the area at night time, meaning you pay the same fee for a gas car parking spot and an electric car parking spot including charging.

      Experiences from this garage will be used, as this concept garage will be the template for similar garages spread all over Norway.

      1. unlucky says:

        It is the way to do it for AC charging. MIT did a similar thing (no batteries but load sharing) years ago.

        I don’t know why we don’t see more commercial sites like this. As large apartment building move to having charging spots for their residents they would like to have something like this.

      2. Bill Howland says:

        Yes, that seems a very fair system for everyone in Norway…

        Of course outside North America, “Demand Contracted For” arrangements are much more common amoungst small customers. Many Europeans have mentioned the costs of higher current facilities at their homes, where as in North America in general there is no additional charge.

        I’ve been advised the province of Ontario in Canada now only charges ‘demand’ on facilities >= 50 kw, whereas in the states it is conceivable to have demand meters for commercial customers with as little as 3 kw. Currently, in my locale, commercial customers almost always SAVE money with a demand meter – since the per kwh charge is only around a penny more than the wholesale energy cost – WHAT A BARGAIN.

    3. speculawyer says:

      What’s really more needed are AC L2 10KW+ chargers at apartment complexes, condos, high-rise residences, etc.

      People other than single-family home owners need access to EVs.

  4. Jake Brake says:

    So who is going to be the first automaker to peg one of these things out?

  5. RubberToe says:

    The Baker CA. station is not yet under construction. I was there Friday and posted pictures in a thread on TMC. Feel free to use the pictures here if you would like to. Nothing but a large empty parking lot.


  6. SJC says:

    This is where working together to make is happen comes in. ALL EV makers work with charger companies and governments to deploy fast chargers in significant numbers.

  7. realistic says:

    Somebody here must surely be able to make an optimistic but supportable capital cost estimate for the >150kW station. Ditto for the CapEx to install service infrastructure for something like four cars charging simultaneously at the desired rate (so 4 x 130kW for a top-rated Tesla unit to 4 x 350kW for the mythical Porsche 800v system: range of 500kW to 1.4MW or thereabouts). Finally what would be the average rate charge (quite a few of these will be at peak times, but certainly not all)?

    Once you understand what you’ll be paying for all the capital and you understand the average power rate, determine a reasonable cost of capital and calculate what you have to charge per kW-hr to get an acceptable, modest ROI.

    Nobody has ever done that here, at Green Car Congress, Electrek, Green Car Reports, or anywhere else.

    I wonder why?

    Oddly, the people who could probably make the most sense of the value proposition – people who purchase huge quantities of electrical infrastructure products and thus have leverage with suppliers, have extant skill sets to design and execute the facilities, understand permitting processes for such things better than anyone (right down to the digging and filling), and can buy wholesale power cheaper than anyone else – you know: utilities… have not stepped forward with any meaningful offerings to the burgeoning EV community.

    Is it because they don’t want to sell electricity? According to all the Solar advocates, that’s certainly not true: utilities will bludgeon old ladies trying to put up solar-powered bird baths in order to keep their daily $0.02 billings for keeping finches clean and cool.

    Maybe it’s because the value needed for a decent ROI in the Hypercharging business will cost the consumer more than driving on petroleum liquids?

    I don’t know and don’t claim to. But please don’t respond with “why don’t YOU do it?” because I’m not an advocate. The advocates are the advocates, and they need to rationalize the economics of the product. In the meantime I’ll charge at home or at occasional convenient L2 facility and for the 25-30% of my driving that’s beyond AER, I’ll use the most prevalent supercharger I know: Mr. Exxon.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      You can do anything you want. For a price.

      With the current cost of batteries, there are going to be very few people who will pay the price required to charge an electric car up as fast as you can charge up a gasoline powered car.

      That is one reason why people buy PHEV’s, and that the few PHEV’s with reasonable sized batteries (such as the ELR and VOLT) give ‘instant’ refueling during vacations, and all-electric operation the vast majority of the time.

      Of course, one of the advantages of ELECTRIC cars was they more effectively utilize otherwise vestigial infrastructure over the midnight hours; lowering the cost of electricity for everyone.

      Fast chargers are a necessary evil, since they use electricity at precisely the time when it is most dear, and tend to negate a big advantage of driving an EV. In this sense, a CHEVY VOLT is ‘more green’ on vacation since it doesn’t tax anything.

      I said 7-8 years ago I felt the maximum individual charge rate will be 150 kw. Obviously in retrospect this is wrong in the future – but I still don’t know who has stepped up to the plate and paid ALL THE COSTS associated with 350 kw or faster charging.

      I still maintain that if individual EV drivers are going to pay all the costs they incur by fast charging, there will be precious few owners who actually insist on superfast charging – the vast majority making other, sometimes slower arrangements.

  8. speculawyer says:

    I still wonder if we will have cars for these. How are the batteries going to handle that?

    Battery sizes probably won’t get much bigger . . . so different battery chemistry mixes? Better cooling systems?

    1. Ziv says:

      I have been wondering what the battery sizes will be for different types of cars in 5 or 6 years. I have to imagine that cars that are more likely to roadtrip will have larger packs while ‘towncars’ will not.

      But as battery prices go down and energy density goes up, I would imagine that packs will have more kWh’s than we are seeing today, but not by much.

      I think 70 (60 usable) kWh packs will still be common but 120 (110 usable) will be as well. And I think the packs will have efficient cooling to allow relatively rapid charging as you note, though I doubt that all of the packs on the road will be able to charge at the highest rates. I have to wonder when 350 kW charge rates will become common. I think the ramp up in charging speed will be rapid to 150 kW, but the rate of increases in charge speed after that will be slower. After you harvest the low hanging fruit (150 kW charge rate) the rest of the fruit is just that much more difficult to reach quickly. Being able to charge at a rate sufficiently high to add 50 kW to your pack in 20 minutes or so is pretty darned impressive.

      That opinion is worth just what you paid for it, though. Nothing. 😉

      1. Jason says:

        Depending on how cheap and dense the battery technology gets I think you will see >200kWh packs. Recharge speed is one area EV is nowhere near ICE, and maybe it doesn’t have to be if you consider this will mostly be required for road trips and you would naturally stop for a coffee break and food, etc.
        If you look at all the uses we have at the moment, eg: big F-150 flying past at 70mph towing a horse float, then 100kWh just won’t cut it. Probably really looking at 300-500kWh in that case, and there really are a lot of that type activity taking place.
        As to small battery City cars vs big battery road trip cars, I don’t see that happening either. Currently you don’t have City cars with 2gal tank because they don’t go very far, they have a relatively large tank and only refill once a week, but they can still do the occasional road trip as required. Apartment dwellers might have the same experience, only charge once a week at the 30-60 minutes DCFC, maybe while shopping or taking in a movie.

    2. realistic says:

      Ziv’s answer is pretty damned good, from where I sit.

      I would add that there is plenty of work going on in this area, and as you inquired about cooling as a key consideration, it’s definitely a big deal. Ford is publishing this upcoming paper for a SAE event about charging at 16C and even 20C:

      My understanding from somebody who knows somebody is that thermal management was carefully addressed in their experiment.

      As for what that implies: assuming 5% losses in the charging system and battery, you’re talking about removing about 18kW for the Porsche 350kW concept. If you are imagining a typcal ICE with cooling passage walls over 140degC, radiator external surace temps over 100degC, and a fan blowing 80m^3/min, that seems OK. But in the EV we have a much lower delta-T and we need an active cooling system to remove the waste energy: basically the cooling system needs the capacity for to cool a 300sq meter house in a Houston August day.

      This is a non-trivial problem, but could be solved by connecting a QD with cooling flow that’s part of the charger infrastructure. The car would have a separate, high-density heat exchanger just for this purpose.

      It can be done. But it ain’t here yet and it ain’t free, either.

  9. Dan Kegel says:

    A lot of folks I know who rent, with no plug near where they park at home or work, would get an EV if they had a cheap routine way to charge it.

    Simple L1 charging at secure workplace and apartment garages could be essential in enabling high EV penetration at low cost. It’s not sexy, though.

    Anyone know of a city working on requiring at least a 110v plug for EV owners to use their trickle chargers?

  10. Brendan says:

    Good to see this infrastructure being installed. This will be necessary along major highways and arterial roads. AC Charging at home, work & shopping centres will easily cover most day to day commutes. DC for long drives.

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