BMW and Porsche have unveiled a charging station that can jolt electric vehicles with enough power to drive 100km in less than three minutes, pushing ahead of Tesla in the race to make battery-powered cars more convenient.
The ultra-fast prototype charger has capacity of 450kW, more than triple Tesla’s Superchargers. Test vehicles developed to take that much power were recharged to 80% capacity in 15 minutes. Tesla’s stations need about 30 minutes for a similar charge, according to its website.
Car makers, developing a wave of electric models to keep up with tightening carbon emissions regulation, are under pressure to overcome consumer turnoffs like slow charging times and patchy infrastructure. With demand remaining tepid, BMW, Daimler and Porsche parent Volkswagen are also building a fast-charging network along major highways in Europe.
The super-powered charging point was developed by a consortium comprising the two German car brands, engineering giant Siemens and charging specialists Allego and Phoenix Contact E-Mobility. The station in Bavaria was opened to the public on Wednesday. It’s free to use for existing models, BMW said on Thursday in a statement.
One drawback is that the charger offers more power than current models can take on. The BMW i3 limits its power intake to 50kW, while the battery-powered iX3 will triple that to 150kW when it rolls out in 2020.
For the test vehicles to withstand the full electricity surge, Porsche used a cooling system that keeps battery cells at a steady temperature, while the charging cables were cooled, too. Siemens provided a higher electric voltage energy supply to test the limits of the power jolt. — Reported by Chris Reiter, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP