German Group Targets 450-kW Charging Stations

BMW AG is leading a consortium of German companies that is studying the potential for ultra-fast electric vehicle battery chargers with a 450-kW capacity.

Another consortium, Ionity GmbH, has begun installing Europe’s first few 350-kW chargers this autumn. Most current public charging stations operate at 50-150 kW.

The new FastCharge project, which was launched in mid-2016, also includes Allego, Phoenix Contact E-Mobility, Porsche and Siemens. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is providing €7.8 million ($9.3 million) in funding for the three-year program.

FastCharge is studying the technical and physical limits of all components and systems involved in charging, encompassing both the vehicle and the infrastructure. To help handle charging rates as high as 900 volts and 500 amperes, the group is evaluating ways to help cool charging cables, plugs and vehicle power sockets. This also would allow for the use of more flexible cables with smaller diameters that can be handled like today’s fuel hoses, according to the group.

FastCharge applies the plugs and standards of Europe’s Combined Charging System (CCS) protocol. As a result, the proposed 450-kW chargers also could service vehicles with lower current and voltage demands.

The partners aim to begin testing a prototype 450-kW charger sometime next year.