German FastCharge research project evaluates fast-charging technologies at the boundaries of what is technically feasible.

German FastCharge research project evaluates fast-charging technologies at the boundaries of what is technically feasible.

450-kW charging sounds like the way off future, but is it really that far off?

A large group of German companies have joined forces in the FastCharge research project to evaluate fast-charging technologies at the very boundaries of what is believed to be technically feasible.

Participants in the project received support of €7.8 million ($9.2 million) from the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure:

  • Allego GmbH
  • BMW Group
  • Phoenix Contact E-Mobility
  • Porsche AG
  • Siemens AG
The anticipated peak of electric car charging technology stands at 450 kW (using 900 V and 500 A) for less than a 15-minute recharge.

The prototype system is to be developed and presented by FastCharge in early 2018, using cooling of the charging cables, plugs and vehicle power sockets. That much juice generates a lot of heat, so cooling will be critical.

450 kW is more than the 350 kW targeted by Porsche for Mission E and by the IONITY charging provider. On the other hand, Phoenix Contact has already shown 1000 V/500 A plugs ready for sale.

Phoenix Contact - High Power Charging (HPC) - 500 A, 1000 V CCS Combo plugs (U.S. Type 1 and Europe Type 2)

Phoenix Contact - High Power Charging (HPC) - 500 A, 1000 V CCS Combo plugs (U.S. Type 1 and Europe Type 2)

"The charging time of electric vehicles depends primarily on current and voltage: the higher the voltage and amperage, the faster the battery can be filled. However, in real life application, these factors cannot be increased at will. This is why the FastCharge project focuses on the study of the technical and physical limits of all components and systems involved in charging, both in the vehicle and the infrastructure.

The anticipated charging capacity is up to 450 kilowatts, three times the maximum charging capacity available at stations today. A voltage of 900 volts and an amplitude of 500 amperes for a projected charging time of under 15 minutes pose major challenges on all components involved. Consequently, it is planned to cool down charging cables, plugs and vehicle power sockets during the charging process, allowing for the use of more flexible cables with smaller diameters that can be handled like today’s fuel hoses. For this solution, FastCharge applies the plugs and standards of the Combined Charging System (CCS), which has already stood the test of everyday operations in today’s series-production e-cars. This would mean that vehicles with lower current and voltage demands can easily be serviced at the fast-charging stations too.

The collaborative project studies all aspects of fast charging in practical application, aiming to introduce and manufacture the required technologies on an industrial scale. This is why, alongside analyzing potential capacity increases in the charging process, the project also investigates the prerequisites and processes for the operation of ultrafast charging systems, including an automated registration and billing process for customers. The combined expertise of the individual project partners ensures that the entire value chain is covered. It is planned that, as early as next year, the complete system will be ready to reach the prototyping stage and be presented to the public. This way, FastCharge will play an important part in increasing long-distance viability and consequently the market acceptance of battery electric vehicles."