ABB, a well known DC charging provider, who already delivered more than 17,000 EV charger globally, recently announced a strategic partnership with AFC Energy, which is working on a scalable alkaline fuel cell system for off-grid applications.
Their plan is to develop a new charging solution, utilizing AFC Energy's fuel cell tech and ABB chargers, envisioned for grid constrained locations. The demo system was shown about two years ago, but does it really make any sense for electric vehicles?
We are not entirely sure whether the hydrogen will be supplied by trucks or produced on-site, but either way, we are skeptical about it.
"The collaboration between ABB and AFC Energy aims to support the delivery of the charging infrastructure required to meet this increasing demand. It will result in a new solution that will provide a secure, efficient, flexible and reliable local power supply, with zero emissions, and will be ready for deployment initially in the UK, Europe, United States and elsewhere, by the second half of 2021."
We believe that especially today, it's easy to deploy a fast-charging station with a battery energy storage, which can lower the required power connection, or even go off-grid if combined with a decent solar installation in the area.
Delivering hydrogen via trucks sounds like a rather expensive solution, especially if we are talking about some far, off-grid locations.
The AFC Energy H-Power's station (see pdf), depending on the version, is expected to be equipped with up to 360 kWh of battery energy storage and up to 400 kW power output. As we understand, there will also be a fuel tank of undisclosed capacity.
Maybe a better way would be to simply deploy mobile charging trailers, equipped with battery energy storage and DC fast chargers like Porsche is doing? A 2.1 MWh ESS is big enough to supply 30 charges (60-70 kWh each).