Electric vehicle technology has advanced tremendously in recent years, but many consumers are still reluctant to make the switch because of two main factors: driving range and charging times.
While the former is seeing rapid improvements—we now have a 520-mile EPA-rated vehicle in the Lucid Air and many other 400-plus-mile EVs—the latter could use a breakthrough. Not many people are willing to wait 20 to 60 minutes to charge their EVs to 80%—not when an internal combustion engine vehicle takes 5 minutes tops to fill up with gasoline.
DC fast-charging an EV to 80% SoC in 5 minutes would be a massive accomplishment and a symbolic one as EV naysayers will have lost their strongest argument in favor of ICEs. The first company that manages to make that happen will likely gain a massive advantage over the competition and conquest many buyers of ICE vehicles.
Could that company be China's GAC (Guangzhou Automobile Company)? Judging from this video courtesy of Fully Charged, it might as well be. Elliot Richards visited GAC-backed Greater Bay Technology (GBT) in Guangzhou to test its latest extreme fast-charging (XFC) tech that's claimed to be capable of charging the Aion V compact SUV's battery from 0 to 80% in just 8 minutes.
GAC Aion V
GAC Aion Y
GAC has two types of pouch battery cells compatible with XFC at the moment, 3C and 6C. The former supports 522 amps, 414.4 volts and 480 kilowatts, leading to a claimed 0-80% charging time of 15 minutes and 30-80% in about 10 minutes.
The latter, which is still under development and set to launch in just a few months, can support 558 amps and 769.6 volts—no word on the charging rate yet. The charging times with the 6C battery will be spectacular: 0-80% in 8 minutes and 30-80% in 5 minutes.
Fully Charged only got to do a charge test of the 3C battery in the Aion V, but even this lesser tech provided lightning fast charging. Starting with the battery at 29% SoC, the Aion V reached 80% in just 10 minutes, which is really quick. Mind you, the 6C technology has the potential to halve that time.
Now, you might ask yourself whether this extreme fast-charging will damage the battery, and rightfully so. Well, GAC says that it won't, and to back that statement it guarantees the battery for 1 million kilometers (621,000 miles) and over 1,600 extreme fast-charging cycles! As Elliott points out, the car will definitely fall apart before the battery.
After that point, the automaker claims the battery will see only 5 percent degradation, which is astonishing if true. Head over to the video above for more details about GAC's advancements in extreme fast-charging, the implications of this technology when it becomes widespread, and short reviews of the Aion V and Aion Y electric compact MPV, which gets access to the same XFX-compatible battery tech.