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: Electrify America Begins DC Fast Charge Installations in Nevada

Electrify America Begins DC Fast Charge Installations in Nevada

26 Feb

Electrify America, a non-profit organization funded by Volkswagen to install multiple DC Fast Charge stations on highways and roadways across America, has begun installing these systems in Nevada.

The Premium Outlet Malls South is a shopping district near Las Vegas Blvd and Warm Springs Road, just south of the Las Vegas Strip. The company is hosting six DC Fast Charge stations with 12 charging ports of various power-delivery capabilities for different model EVs equipped with different levels of fast-charge battery packs.

Two of the stations will carry “ultra fast” plug connectors capable of delivering electricity at a maximum power-transfer rate of 350 kilowatts. At this time, no plug-in electric car battery pack has been equipped to handle this combined amount of voltage and current flow from a DC Ultra Fast Charger. However, the installation of these systems will future-proof these DC Fast Charge systems near Las Vegas Blvd., so that newer vehicles with ultra-fast charging rates that will be developed over the next ten years, will still be able to use this site.

The plug-in connectors on these charging stations are based on the SAE International standard for DC Fast Charging, known as the Combined Charging System, or CCS. The latest CCS version 2.0 coincidentally has a maximum power rating of 350 kilowatts, that can be achieved through a combination of voltage and current settings. Voltage can be adjusted from 200 – 1000 Volts DC, while current flow can reach a maximum of 500 Amps.

Three of the six stations at the Las Vegas Premium Outlet South shopping district will be also use a similar CCS connector, but have a maximum power-transfer capability of 150 kilowatts.

The last DC Fast Charge station has two different connectors. One is a CCS-compatible plug rated at 150 kilowatts while the second plug is a CHAdeMo standard plug rated at 50 kilowatts. CHAdeMo is an older DC Fast Charge standard developed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and implemented more than a decade ago. It has been used by Japanese automotive manufacturers in the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi i-MiEV that were sold in the US during 2012 and beyond.

Each CHAdeMo-equipped vehicle had two separate charging ports, one for the standard SAE J1772 Level 1 and 2 AC charging systems, as well as a separate CHAdeMo port for DC Fast Charge systems.

All six DC Fast Charge stations have been provided by ABB, a worldwide manufacturer of electric vehicle supply equipment for the automotive industry.

Currently, the Tesla Supercharger network of DC Fast Charge stations are rated at 120 kilowatts to enable Tesla Models S, X and 3 to travel cross-country and recharge a 250-mile range pack in about forty minutes. Tesla owners can purchase an optional CHAdeMo adapter cable but at 50 kilowatts, charging time is closer to two hours to top off a Tesla model battery pack.

A 150-kilowatt DC Fast Charger should reduce the time required to refill an electric car’s battery cells to about 35 minutes, while a 350-kilowatt Ultra Fast DC Charger should be able to recharge a compatible battery pack in about ten minutes.

Implementing this EV technology roadmap to enable an electric car future may have some speed bumps over the next ten years.

Building out the necessary charging station infrastructure to safely deliver electricity at the same rates as high-voltage transmission lines will still be a tremendous challenge to designers, installers, product managers, maintenance people and even first responders to a traffic accident or DC Fast Charge station malfunction.

A lot of “real world” testing will be required with each new level of DC Fast Charge technologies over the next decade.

Already, Electrify America has experienced a recall of 350-kilowatt DC Fast Charge cables after recent testing found a problem in some of the units. Retrofits to the original cable designs were required to systems that have already been installed.

An onboard card reader can process all major credit cards for the purchase of electric power, as well as process payments through Apple Pay and Android Pay.

NEVA blog posted by Stan Hanel, Outreach Coordinator

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