Swedish Scientists Invent On-Board “Supercharger” for Electric Vehicles

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 8

Whoops...Wrong Type of Supercharger

Whoops…Wrong Type of Supercharger

 

Superchargers are often associated with gas-gulping automobiles.  More recently, superchargers are associated with Tesla Motors and, more specifically, the Model S, but Swedish scientists say they too have a supercharger and it’s not one of those things that often bulge out of the hood of muscle cars.

Nope...This Isn't the Right One Either

Nope…This Isn’t the Right One Either…Unfortunately, No Pictures Exist of the Supercharger Mentioned in This Post

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology claims to have developed a high-power integrated motor drive and battery charger that reduces charging time for electric vehicles from eight to two hours.  That’s supercharging, according to them team of scientists.

Additionally, the scientists claim the supercharging system costs “$2,000 less than its competitors,” though we have no clue who they consider to be competitors in this context.

How’s this supercharging pulled off?  Well, the scientists say that electric vehicle have on-board components that aren’t currently part of the charging process, but could be utilized to speed recharging times.  The team apparently integrates the electric motor and inverter into the charger circuit.

Saeid Haghbin, Doctor of Electric Power Engineering at Chalmers, describes it like this:

“Our system is designed to be used with ‘plug-in’ vehicles that do not drive and charge at the same time.  This type of vehicle must be connected to the grid in order to be charged, i.e. it has to be parked.  Whilst charging is taking place, the car’s electric motor and inverter are idle.  We wanted to exploit the free parts by including them within the battery’s charger circuit.  By integrating these high-power components into the circuit, we managed to increase the charging power.  Conventional chargers produce around 3.3kW of energy which means that they take around eight hours to fully charge a vehicle.  As our system uses approximately 10kW of power, it can charge the same vehicle within two hours.  Of course, the exact charging rates will depend upon the vehicle in question. I am merely offering some of the typical numbers.”

Dr. Haghbin continued his explanation of the system, saying:

“When you design a charger, you have two options.  You can produce either an isolated or a non-isolated system.  Each of these options comes with its own associated advantages and disadvantages.  An isolated charging system, for example, is much easier to install than one that is not isolated.  However, non-isolated systems have better efficiency.  Essentially, instead of opting for an isolated battery charger, our system uses a specially designed split-phase electric motor to charge the vehicle’s battery.”

The team’s supercharger is currently in the developmental/experimental stage, but some patents have already been secured and industrial partners supposedly show interest in the product.

Dr. Haghbin concludes with this statement:

“Our project has received significant support from members of Sweden’s automotive industry.  At present, we are working in conjunction with AB Volvo to enhance, and ultimately, commercialize our system. The development process is ongoing.”

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8 responses to "Swedish Scientists Invent On-Board “Supercharger” for Electric Vehicles"

  1. Paul says:

    AC Propulsion had this in the 90’s

    1. Roy_H says:

      That’s right, and they had a patent on it too. Tesla licensed that patent, even though they designed and built their own controller. Unfortunately patents will often slow down technological advancements, as many companies will refuse to pay the royalties, and unless the public is aware and demands this feature, will do without.

  2. zilm says:

    I saw DIY 10kw charger kit for $1k retail, will that guys return me my grand?
    Btw if there is a simple way to use motor controller for charging, it will be great. Look: on regen with AC motor, controller charge batteries with DC, getting AC from motor. There should be simple shortcut to use it for general charging.

  3. Aaron says:

    Please tell me this isn’t something stupid like putting the drive wheels on a rolling wheel and turning on the “regen” of the electric car…

    1. zilm says:

      oh no, i meant using only electronics, not a such garbage

  4. Bill Howland says:

    Oh man I’m glad these Doctors aren’t medical doctors.. They are only claiming a 3 times increase in usage, so how in the world are they getting 1/4 the charge time? Especially since any motor – generator set is going to be less efficient than any standard 3.3 kw charger as many cars have.. \\

    BTW, those Stepper motors are in no way a “split phase” motor that the article was describing. But they’d need around 14 HP or so to get 10 kw to the battery. And most utilities would not allow these things to be hooked up to residential lines with out soft-starter arrangements, increasing its cost again. I really don’t see the point here. Tesla’s single phase “static” chargers seem to work well enough, and the smallest you can get is 9.6 kw.

    Far from being patentable, MG Sets have existed since the late 1800’s. The Frank LLoyd Wright Darwin Martin house from the very early 1900’s had a 2400 volt , 25 cycle (hz) 3 phase mg set providing flicker free DC lighting to the Complex. So the good doctor is over 110 years late. Plus it should be embarrassing to him that his numbers do not begin to add up.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Thanks for providing the link. I don’t know why people can’t include this in the initial article but maybe its because they’re bamboozled as to what is actually being accomplished.

      I didn’t think Single phase charging was all the common in Sweden. The “plug” in the diagram is only 2 prongs, but is this a single line diagram item only or is the charging point power truly only going to be single phase and not 3 phase Mennekes as would be expected?

      IF 1-phase, then the clutch in the diagram will be needed since the motor will HAVE to SPIN. They then get to recover 3 phase ‘regeneration’ and send it to the battery withougt a separate charger. This will never be as efficient as a separate charger – maybe the whole point is to get around ac propulsion patents, which I would also have thought would be unpatentable since its such an obvious idea (when these things were first coming out EVERY generalist said “We are recovering energy from the motor during regen, why can’t the same electronics charge the battery?”), but then what do I know about contemporary patent law?

      Rather like TIVO saying you cant record a movie on a chip or hard disk, all the DVR’s that formerly had them had to go out of production after TIVO filed for a patent on an obvious use, and something everyone wants to do.