Continental AllCharge Enables 800V, 350 kW Charging

4 months ago by Mark Kane 17

AllCharge Technology from Continental Makes EVs Fit for Any Type of Charging Station

Continental has announced its new “AllCharge” technology, which via an electric vehicles’s powertrain, enables a ‘universal charger’ system, capable of supplying up to 350 kW at up to 800 V.

Like with Renault’s Chameleon system (in the ZOE), Continental uses the electric motor and an inverter (instead of on-board charger) to charge using 1-phase or 3-phase AC, but additionally AllCharge also offers DC charging (straight through the inverter).

The bidirectional AllCharge system opens up whole new applications for the large amounts of energy stored in the vehicle battery, for example at the camping area. (Continental)

On the vehicle side, there is single CCS Combo connector, and two possible charging current paths to the battery:

  • In the case of AC current, the current flows from the charging station via the electric motor to the inverter, where it is converted into DC current before being supplied to the battery.
  • In the case of DC current, the current from the charging station flows directly through the inverter to the battery. AllCharge works with any type of charging station, and can operate at a rate of up to 800 V and a power from 150 kW today and up to 350 kW for special premium applications.

Continental AllCharge has one more feature to offer: 230 V 1-phase outlet for external devices (V2D).

The Unveiling and details of the Continental AllCharge to be presented at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and at the Continental Tech Show in June 2017.

Press blast:

Regensburg, Frankfurt, Hanover, May 29, 2017.

The basic idea is simple. Rather than cramming the car with extra technology to match all the different types of charging station, Continental turns the electric powertrain itself into a ‘charger’. Dubbed the ‘AllCharge’ system by Continental, this technology is based on the components of a conventional electric powertrain (comprising electric motor and inverter – for switching between DC and AC power). Since constant AC/DC switching at different voltages is already an inherent feature of the electric powertrain, these components already possess all the necessary capabilities to function as a charging system. By exploiting these capabilities, Continental is now able to provide interoperability with different charging technologies using an onboard, vehicle-based solution.

As well as being able to charge their vehicle at any charging station, at an output rate of up to 800 V and up to 350 kW, drivers also have 230 volts of AC power available for onboard use if needed. The AllCharge system’s V2D (vehicle-to-device) technology also allows the vehicle battery to be used to power mobile electrical devices ranging from a laptop to a refrigerator or an electric drill.

“Today, EV drivers often end up parking at a charging station that doesn’t allow them to charge as fast as they would like,” says Dr. Oliver Maiwald, Head of Technology & Innovation in the Powertrain Division at Continental. “With Continental’s AllCharge powertrain, drivers no longer need to worry about finding the right type of charging station. Their vehicle is equipped for every type of technology, from single-phase or three-phase AC to high-speed DC systems. Maiwald added “the maximum benefit can be reached for urban AC charging stations, here a 12 times faster charging is possible.”

AllCharge system – the universal solution for all types of cable-based charging

Recharging an electric vehicle still leaves something to be desired in terms of everyday user-friendliness. For example the selected charging station may only offer slow single-phase AC charging or alternatively, if it does offer high-speed DC charging, the vehicle itself may not be equipped with the necessary technology to support this. Efforts to expand the current infrastructure confront a recurring dilemma: single-phase and three-phase AC charging stations, which are cheaper to install and therefore the most widespread type of charging point, entail relatively long charging times, making them impractical for long trips, while high-speed DC charging stations, with their expensive technology, are still very few and far between. What’s more, many electric cars are not yet equipped for high-voltage DC charging.

“What was always lacking up until now was some sort of universal solution capable of working with any type of charging station,” says Dr. Martin Brüll, who is a responsible expert for the new charging system. “Such a universal solution is now available in the form of AllCharge.” Drawing on its expertise, technology and production experience, Continental has developed an innovative system which is basically a modified electric powertrain in which the electric motor and inverter (which switches between DC and AC power) have been specially adapted to handle the additional task of charging. The only extra component involved in this system is a DC/DC converter, whose job is to ensure an optimally regulated power flow to the battery at all times.

Five minutes charging time gives up to 150 km of range

The vehicle is equipped with a single cable connector, but there are two possible charging current paths to the battery. In the case of AC current, the current flows from the charging station via the electric motor to the inverter, where it is converted into DC current before being supplied to the battery. In the case of DC current, the current from the charging station flows directly through the inverter to the battery. AllCharge works with any type of charging station, and can operate at a rate of up to 800 V and a power from 150 kW today and up to 350 kW for special premium applications. “With 350 kW DC charging, five minutes charging time provides approximately 150 km of driving range – a good indication of our charging system’s true potential,” says Dr. Brüll. “No matter how quickly the infrastructure develops in future, a vehicle with AllCharge technology will always be able to make the most of the selected charging station’s capacity.” At the Continental Tech Show and IAA 2017, Continental will host the first ever live demonstrations of the AllCharge system.

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17 responses to "Continental AllCharge Enables 800V, 350 kW Charging"

  1. Thom Moore says:

    InsideEVs should not publish advertising as if it were investigative reporting. This isn’t even accurate. An inverter does not convert AC power to DC, but rather does the opposite. A separate device known as a rectifier or a charger converts AC power to DC. If there is an inverter that works in both directions, please spend some describing that, as it would be interesting to many readers.

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      That’s unfair – the component that drives the motor in an EV is traditionally called an inverter, even though it spends a good portion of its time converting AC back to DC during regen braking. What is incorrect is suggesting that any of this would go through the motor itself.

      Also, it’s hard to get concerned about InsideEVs rebroadcasting a press release for something that isn’t even a consumer product. They’re not trying to sell you anything, except for the automakers that undoubtedly have staff that come through here now and then.

      1. EV says:

        If this does not go through motor , then whats new then ???? using existing components like inverter would be a no brainer. Only the marketing will be new

        1. mustang_sallad says:

          First – how would you propose to use a motor for this?? It’s electricity in, mechanical power out – not very useful for charging unless you plan to jack the car up and spin the wheels!

          A few companies have tried using the power electronics in the inverter for charging before – most notably Renault, but also the Tesla Roadster (i believe) and to a certain degree, the i3. But for the most part, it’s been very limited. So nothing ground breaking here, other than the fact that a major component supplier is saying they’re giving it a shot and pushing the solution in a bigger way.

          Also, they’re suggesting this component can play a role in supporting DC charging, which is weird, since that should just be a pass through to the battery. At a minimum, that probably means that the inverter provides isolation for the DC pins whenever they’re not in use (those pins need to be disconnected from the battery when not plugged into a charger, so you’d need relays in there somewhere at about a hundred bucks a pop, not to mention finding a good spot for them and the required engineering design) but maybe they’re proposing to use the DC-DC converter to allow an 800V EV to charge off of a 400V DCFC station. It would be pretty frustrating and confusing to mainstream customers if the Mission E (or other future EVs) came out with super-fast 15 minute charging, but couldn’t use any of the thousands of DCFC stations that are already installed because none of them can go up to 800V.

          1. Rumata says:

            1. The motor is used only as three inductors, to ease electromagnetic compatibility issues.

            2. The traction inverter is used as a three-phase synchronous rectifier.

            3. In this case, the DC pin can be connected directly to a leg of the inverter, and the inverter leg will work as a boost converter.
            Hence, no additional isolation switch is required.

            4. The traction inverter must suppoert the maximum battery load during acceleration and drive, so it can easily support the maximum allowed charge power of the battery.

            Bottom line: the universal charging thru the traction inverter offers the greatest flexibility of input voltages, and the greatest charging power, both for DC or AC sources.

            All the expensive high-power DC charging stations are crap, because, with this solution, a simple high-current 3-phase industrial connector can perfectly serve for any future car charging.

            Only the EV car makers should change the wiring in their future chars to offer a high-current 3-phase connector.

            Then, with a simple adapter, the car can receive any DC or AC sources for charging.

    2. EV says:

      Thanks for the deeper insights.

      Looks like a good flexible concept to save money. Not sure how this is universal though. Any systems adopted globally will be universal , not just this..

    3. Bill Howland says:

      Mr. Moore – Not to nitpick what you said, but you’re sharpening your pencil point a bit too sharply here.

      Combined ‘Four Quadrant’ Inverters granted are standard terminology, and just shoehorning in the rectification function is an allowed verbal sloppiness.

      Re: the old Tesla Roadster, the car capitalized on the fact that the car world-wide (to the big annoyance of Europeans) would ONLY charge on single-phase Mains. Although rated at 70 amperes, due to some countries (e.g. Switzerland) restriction at 16 amperes imbalance limited the charge rate to 3,84 kw. But since by DEFINITION a single-phase motor has ZERO torque (no rotating magnetic field possible), and transformer action could be used on the unused winding (for 120 volt charging), it was an effective use of the rectification function needed for dynamic braking – doubling here as also charging the car battery.

      Renault apparently has used this scheme (although no current through the motor windings since much of the time polyphase juice would be used for charging), but many owners have complained that the system, although ‘Elegant’ in that it simply reuses the existing dynamic braking facility, is somewhat lacking in the efficiency department.

      Charging a car at 350 kw requires reasonably high efficiency, since there are going to be billows of heat to discard even under perfect circumstances, and any inefficiencies add to the morass, not to mention inefficiencies will mean the steep electricity cost will be even more unbearable.

      Mosfet power devices lately are being designed for incredible power levels, so the added cost of the inverter module, much larger than the car requires (unless 500 hp already) is not too much of a price penalty – but I still harp on asking who precisely is going to pay for all this happiness?

  2. MTN Ranger says:

    I see VTD more useful than VTG. VTD would be great for home power outages, power tool/construction as well as the mentioned camping uses.

  3. Someone out there says:

    This doesn’t make any sense at all. How do you charge through the motor? Do you jack the car up and connect an electric motor to the wheels and then use regenerative braking to charge the battery?

    1. bogdan says:

      Don’t worry, they don’t understand it either. It’s just marketing.

  4. ZOE-driver says:

    That is the technology in the Renault ZOE already available combined with seperate DC charging. The motor as inverter for AC 1 and 3 phase up to 63A @ 230V ( 43kw) is technology sold from 2012 until today in the Q-Motor. The Q210 is from Continental, made in Gifhorn which is close to Wolfsburg (VW)

  5. orinoco says:

    That’s exactly what I need to maximize the use value of an BEV. I use a lot of devices (so far gas driven tools) in the middle of nowhere, but I’d like to use my electic grid powered tools: they are much more convenient, clean, not so noisy, less expensive, more powerful than battery tools. e.g. chain saw, multi tool for trimming, pruning, hedge trimming. With 3 phase AC (400V) I could even use a mobile saw mill. It’s a waste of opportunity to not use a BEV battery for purposes like that. Ok, you have to handle the cable, but I’m already used to 50m grid power cable. Absolutely no problem.
    And ok, with 230V AC the limit is with about 3kW power. So you won’t get close to a professional high power gas chain saw, but a 2,4kW electric chain saw can do a lot.

  6. Terawatt says:

    What are you guys on about?? DC charging is basically connecting the power lines on the charger directly to the battery pack! Batteries obviously must be charged with DC – in the opposite direction of discharging. AC would mean discharging and charging alternatingly…

    The onboard charger takes AC in and must rectify this to DC to charge. But it makes no sense to involve the inverter when the supplied power is already direct current.

    1. unlucky says:

      Yeah. The article says this offers DC charging “straight through the inverter”. That’s not true. DC charging bypasses the motor controller (inverter) and AC/DC converter (onboard charger).

      Other than 800V capability it’s unclear what this really offers. I assure you you aren’t going to do rapid charging from AC for very long, regardless of the converter used to do it. Putting enough beef and cooling inside to do continuous 350kW AC charging just doesn’t make sense. It’s carrying around equipment you would rarely use.

      The 800V capability is nice. This will allow Continental to sell this system to German automakers who seem to be pushing 800V pretty hard.

      Continental is working to make sure they can remain a critical supplier as BEVs become common. Great to see it.

  7. Keith B says:

    In the case of AC charging, motor is being used as boost inductor as part of PFC boost. This is not a new scheme. Scheme is not used much because of problems with leakage current and lack of isolation.

  8. Jake Brake says:

    So can it fast charge at 400v and 800v? Whats the conversion loss since even a small % at those rates is a ton of heat.

  9. Olle Schälin says:

    It would be intresting to know if this solution provide galvanic isolation between the AC side (mains) and the DC buss onboard.

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