This Hack Provides A Boost That Reduces EV Charging Time

DEC 20 2018 BY EVANNEX 35


Electric vehicles aren’t as good as gas-burners – when it comes to performance, comfort and total cost of ownership, they’re far better. However, one area in which EVs still fall short is refueling time. Even at a Tesla Supercharger, you can expect to wait much longer than the couple of minutes it takes to jerk some dinosaur juice into a legacy rattler.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Source: Zapinamo

Chargers with much higher power levels are already being installed in the US and Europe, but they’ll be playing a game of catch-up as the battery capacities of next-gen EVs increase. Furthermore, faster charging means more power consumption, and that often means expensive upgrades to a location’s electrical supply. What if there were some way to charge a vehicle faster without drawing more juice from the local service?

That’s the vision of EVSE manufacturer Zapinamo. The Coventry-based firm has developed a new charging system that uses battery storage to “power boost” a domestic electric grid connection and reduce charging time.

Youtube: Knowledge Transfer Network

According to Zapinamo, a typical home charger adds 4 miles of charge in 30 minutes, whereas the company’s new Hubz unit can add 50 miles in 30 minutes.

The Hubz product range is a modular system, designed to expand its capabilities as typical charging power levels increase.

The Hubz base unit can use a “community energy model” to distribute energy among several chargers.

The Streethubz unit is designed for commercial depots, where its energy storage capability can boost charging rates without the need for costly substation upgrades.

Source: Zapinamo

The Parkhubz unit is ergonomically designed to fit into the corner of a parking spot, taking up a minimal amount of space.===Written by: Charles Morris. This article originally appeared in Charged

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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35 Comments on "This Hack Provides A Boost That Reduces EV Charging Time"

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The typical home unit–a basic Level II AC charger adds more like 12-13 miles in 30 minutes (to a Tesla Model 3) [240V @ 32 Amps].

So basically this is only 50 kW CHAdeMO speeds. But, as stated, this helps minimize the issue of placing a charger where one doesn’t have access to high power grid feeds which is a detriment to placing charging sites at many desired locations.

So a benefit to the user in that if allows higher power charging at a specific location that would only otherwise (for cost reasons) support only Level II charging.

And “faster is always better” is not true. For home charging, you want to charge as slow as possible to preserve the battery. We now have our model 3 set at 13 amps, which charges it in just under 5 hours for our daily use, and end just 30 minutes before the car gets used.

Agree on faster is not always better, but Tesla has such large battery, charging at 13 amps or 40 amps makes no difference on battery health. Charging at 40 amp is around 9k watts.

Model 3 regenerative braking is over 50k watts of energy back to your battery, and your car does that hundreds of times every time you drive your car.

That 50kW doesn’t last more than several seconds typically unless you are slowing to a stop going downhill. Even then it typically would last less than 20 seconds. That’s not enough to heat the battery significantly, and won’t drive it near its max voltage unless you just took it off full charge. High temperature/high voltage is what mainly decreases battery life. That’s why many laptop batteries that are left plugged in have relatively short life, many of the chargers are designed to keep them near max voltage to maximize operating time once disconnected. I’ve driven electric for over 9 years, and I’ve never come anywhere close to regeneratively braking 100’s of times on a given trip. You might do that in stop and go traffic for many miles, but then your speed would be low so regenerative braking would be less than 10kW. Agree with the comment on large battery. Charge/discharge current is normally expressed as a C rate, where C is the charge capacity of the battery in Ah. A 0.3 C rate is no issue at all. A 350 V, 60 kWh battery is 60,000/350 = 171 Ah. Charging it at 50A, ~0.3C, would be just fine.

The energy sent back to your battery during braking is in short spurts and doesn’t heat your battery up enough to cause premature aging. That is not the case with supercharging.

That’s a smart life span battery cycle management program, a wise choice and plan!

Of course charging rates will only be boosted if the vehicle supports higher charging rates. Plugging a Gen 1 Volt into one of these units won’t charge it any faster than a 3.3 kW charging station.

Yeah, it must have a DCFC port, otherwise it’s limited by the onboard charger rating.

And what is the round trip efficiency of the battery storage system? And what does that do to net energy consumption to actually get electrons to the car?

An irrelevancy. Read my comment at the bottom of the page.

Using a battery to smooth demand is hardly a “hack”. Nor is it a new concept. I’m glad they are addressing this need with an actual product, though.

Charging batteries from other batteries is a bad idea… Li-ion charging efficiency roundtrip is some ~85%, so doing it twice becomes 0.85*0.85 = 0.72 -> 72%. In addition if these batteries are to help with peak draw I would expect even lower efficiency and a hit on the powerbank battery life.

Better use these batteries in the cars you are charging rather than introduce another competition on the limited battery supply. There are better ways to smooth peak load, ultra-capacitors come to mind.

“Li-ion charging efficiency roundtrip is some ~85%, so doing it twice becomes 0.85*0.85 = 0.72 -> 72%”

….you aren’t making two round trips. Your 85% must include transmission losses from a generating station. That loss would only happen once.

Of course you do 2 roundtrips – one in the power bank and one in the car battery.
My point is they are introducing one more battery, reducing overall efficiency even further, if we start with natural gas (60% efficient at best), times 90% grid efficiency, times 85% twice, then add 90% electric motor efficiency we get:
0.6 x 0.9 x 0.85 x 0.85 x 0.9 = 0.35 -> 35%

For comparison pure gasoline ICE is some 25% efficient, hybrids get that to around 30% and some diesel engines are close to 35, even 40% efficient. The advantage of using an electric car all but disappears, better burn that natural gas in your car.

Only one round trip of charging/discharging is done by the station’s power pack. Also, if the source is solar panels or, wind, the extra 15% power loss comes at no carbon or pollution or electric utility power surge penalty cost.

The batteries in a power station don’t need to be the same lightweight design as a car’s battery. If they are designed for heavy current dumping with good (heavier) cooling, they won’t be harmed by that use.

Agreed the design will be different, but the roundtrip efficiency won’t be beyond 85%, because this is the best you can get from any chemical battery today. The chemistry will probably be geared towards longetivity say a lithium-titanate battery having up to 20,000 cycles life. But this has its own downsides – Li-Ti has 5 to 10 times lower energy density than say LCO so it will be correspondingly bigger and more expensive.

Agree with several of the others here — home charging very easily handles about 97+ percent of my annual charging needs, assuming I spend about 10 ‘long-travel’ days per year. I drive ~60 miles per day on average, and only require home charging about every third evening, although I generally plug the car in, just like plugging in my mobile phone each night. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be happy when either range improves or level 3 charging speed can improve as other technology advances.

We’ve really only been doing BEV’s for ~10 years with current technology, so I absolutely expect advances to occur.

All DC Fast Chargers should be required to have battery systems. The GRID needs to charge sharp DEMAND charges or these will make the GRID unstable and less efficient.
The Tesla Kattleman California location is a perfect design. They have Solar for shade and power over all the charging spots, Battery Power Packs to keep the power steady from the GRID , a building with controllered access with Wifi ,snacks and bathrooms . They even have 2 Destination chargers for those who only need a little and slower charge. They can even be used by other electric cars with not Tesla port by using a Jdapter. A perfect spot.

If Tesla shares their patents to further the mission, then why not share superchargers with GM? Especially at isolated enroute supercharger locations.

They could, but electricity is not 100% free, even wind and solar hardware still cost something.

GM can use Tesla’s network, but they will have to pay for the electricity used.

Many of the commercial charging infrastructures, just don’t get it.
For example, a L2 charger at a drug store. What’s the chances that that will do anyone any good. I’m not staying in a drug store for 4+ hours.
DC Fast chargers on the road, with just a single charger and maybe a few L2 chargers? That just means that the location gets a low reliability rating, as if the charger is ever broken, the stop becomes useless. Sure, the L2s at a Cracker Barrel are sometime nice, but more often nice for locals, not travelers.

A battery infused charger that can provide 50 miles in 30 minutes? Well, marginally better, but that raises the cost by about $10k and I’m not sure where it best fits. As a commercial charger, that means that it will be unavailable for some period as it rechargers, definitely not optimal. As a home charger, faster speeds aren’t needed, but if it had ability to run the house as a UPS, it may have much better sales.

They should sell like hot-cakes in Britain, since the juice is only somewhat more expensive than in the States, but the Petrol is ridiculously more expensive due to all the gas taxes. People should be buying electric cars there ‘left and right’.

I agree with BRIAN.. This is a good idea, especially for small-medium commercial customers.

Yes the energy required through the UTILITY REVENUE METER may increase by 20% or so, but in my area the Demand Charge is around $14 /kw/month, while off-peak energy usage is about 4 cents/kwh (much cheaper than the 10 cents I pay at home).

Since the energy charge here is SO LOW, it really doesn’t matter that the thing ultimately uses 20-25% more juice. What matters is it does not kick up the $14 / kw/month demand fine.

Like everyone here, I have heard for years that EVs are “inferior” to gasmobiles in terms of refueling times. Before I became an EV owner and daily driver I just accepted that as fact. The reality for me over the past three months and over 4,000 miles is exactly the opposite. Like most other EV drivers out there, when I get home I simply plug it in. The next morning my car is fully charged and ready to go. I just unplug and drive away. I drive around all day without having to make any pit stops for fuel. None. Since acquiring my EV I have taken four trips of over 500 miles each. Such trips (7+ hours) necessitate stopping along the way for a stretch, a restroom break, and usually a quick bite to eat. Each time, I simply drove to a Supercharger along my route, plugged in just like I do at home, and went on about my business. No standing at a gas pump, no declining a car wash, no credit card swiping. Just plug in (albeit with a thicker cable) and go. In the time it took for me to hit the head and woof down… Read more »

I have an EV but sorry, not buying it on roadtrip charging times. If we took a Model S 60kwh on my last trip, the trip time would have ballooned from 10 hours to 15 to allow for supercharging.

PS. winter is coming here in Canada – When I get my BEV there will be no more standing in the cold wind/rain as I get gas.

“According to Zapinamo, a typical home charger adds 4 miles of charge in 30 minutes, whereas the company’s new Hubz unit can add 50 miles in 30 minutes.”

Hmmm, I dunno what that refers to. Clipper Creek’s charging chart shows 4 miles of charge per hour (not 30 minutes) for L1 charging. For L2 charging it’s a minimum of 11 miles of range per hour, presumably for cars with the least powerful, 3.3 kW onboard chargers, and a maximum (all of Tesla’s cars) of 25 miles of range per hour.

Unless I’m overlooking something pretty basic, that claim I quoted is B.S. There might indeed be some benefit to this system, but I’m highly skeptical of a product whose company feels the need to cite false figures for comparison.

Agreed! Sounds like crap marketing, with an end result the same as plenty of existing commercially available EVSEs.

Well you guys – especially Pushi, can’t see straight. VOLTS in the USA on 115 volts don’t charge this fast but Vauxhall Amperas in the UK do on domestic outlets simply because they can be charged at 10 amperes @ 240 volts, without any extra equipment.

YES PUSHI, you are overlooking something pretty basic. They don’t use Clipper Creek 115 volt ‘chargers’ very often in 240 volt UK.

A typical home charger is L2, not L1 like the Volt (a PHEV) uses. Sure an L2 is typically supplied with the vehicle, but that’s not what most people typically use at home, so “typical” home charging is much faster than the 4 miles/hr they state.

Please tell me more about this magic that will fully charged my Volt in 30 minutes! /s

With this little detail, seems like either vaporware, or even more likely, terrible marketing.

Sam – can’t you guys read, or even hear this guy’s British Accent? He is just plain not talking about the USA.

I don’t see this company surviving if they don’t have something else. This is essentially a powerwall that’s grid fed. That’s not something patentable, which means that competition will be easy and inevitable.

Sure, go ahead and age your battery prematurely, void your battery warranty, and risk a fire.

So in simple terms this is a 35kWh (usable) battery that charges at a regular power level and can dump it out at a much higher level.