In recent months, we saw several products that might be useful to recharge a stranded electric car with a depleted battery - from gas generators, through portable batteries/chargers, and mobile energy storage systems. However, those are products for professional use and an average EV owner will not buy/carry any of those daily.
What we really need is an EV counterpart to jumper cables. A simple, easy to use, and low-cost, solution to connect two EVs (one with a depleted battery and the second one with energy to spare). It would be a true Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) system without the need for anything beyond the cable, with a standard plug on both ends.
Let's make some assumptions:
- EV jumper cables to transfer electricity from one vehicle to another
- a single communication standard for the entire automotive industry (plug and play)
- the use of existing on-board power electronics (on both vehicles) for the purpose of receiving/supplying electricity without any additional devices
- the use of existing charging inlets on both vehicles
- use a low-cost, low-power, low-weight plugs/cables to be able to carry the EV jumper cable easily in the trunk
AC or DC
In my opinion, the EV jumper cable plugs should be designed for the standard AC charging inlet.
The reason for that is simple. All new EVs in Europe are equipped with Type 2 AC charging inlet (even Tesla is compatible). All new EVs (besides Tesla, which uses adapter) are equipped with Type 1 AC (SAE J1772) charging inlet in North America. A similar situation is in the other markets, where a single AC standard is actually a standard.
We don't have such comfort in the case of DC standards - there are three in North America (Tesla, CHAdeMO and CCS Combo 1) and two in Europe (CHAdeMO and CCS Combo 2 plus Tesla compatible with CCS).
To have a single, universal type of EV jumper cable we have to use the common AC charging inlets.
As we don't need a very high-power (2-3 kW would be enough in a base solution with an option for more, like 7 kW, 11 kW), so we really don't need to use DC. Especially because DC plugs are more expensive, bigger and heavier.
All we need is a basic AC inlet, although it does not determine whether we will be transferring electricity using alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) as technically it's possible to send DC power through the AC inlet.
What has to be done?
The technical standard/solution should be determined by the automotive industry as soon as possible, as the car manufacturers will have to upgrade their onboard power electronics to handle the bi-directional use (AC or DC).
Once a single solution is developed, every new EV would be equipped with the capability to connect to another EV and transfer the power one way, or another.
The professional rescue teams could get an upgraded onboard system so they would simply be able to provide higher power, without any additional external devices, like the Andromeda Power ORCA Inceptive EV rescue charger, shown below in the video (using CHAdeMO standard with V2V capability):
The 50 kW ORCA Inceptive, demonstrated in 2014, at the time was priced at $25,990 and as you can see, takes considerable space in the trunk. All of the tasks done by the ORCA Inceptive have to be done by the existing on-board system.
Some V2V capability was presented eight years ago (2012) also by BYD, using the Chinese GB/T standard, but there is still nothing available on the market to simply connect two EVs.