Ultra-fast charging has emerged as a key solution in the electric mobility space, with the potential to revolutionize charging times and provide a more convenient experience for users. Although its concept may cause confusion, its ability to drive the adoption of electric vehicles and overcome one of the main barriers to entry for many consumers is undeniable: charging times.
First of all, it is important to understand what ultra-fast charging is and some of its features. Unlike being a specific speed, it is defined as a load capacity that far exceeds other available options. If a charger is capable of charging at double or triple the normal speed, both will be considered fast charging. There is no set standard speed for this type of charging, which means that the technology will continue to evolve and improve in terms of efficiency and speed.
Ultra-fast charging is based on the use of direct current instead of alternating current, since direct current can be stored, which is essential for the optimal functioning of an electric vehicle battery. In recent years, the charging capacity of ultra-fast chargers has increased significantly. In 2022, the most powerful charger available reached 360 kW, demonstrating technological progress in this field.
One of the notable ultra-fast chargers is the ABB Terra 360, introduced in 2022. This charger has the ability to charge a compatible electric vehicle in approximately 15 minutes, which is a significant improvement compared to conventional charging times. Additionally, it can charge up to four vehicles simultaneously, dynamically distributing power between them to ensure efficient and equitable charging.
These chargers can be installed in service stations, commercial areas or retail establishments. By being located in high-traffic locations, users will be able to conveniently charge their vehicles while carrying out other activities, such as shopping in shopping centers. This helps standardize electric vehicle charging and makes it more accessible and practical for users.
However, it is important to note that a battery exposed to higher power may deteriorate more quickly due to increased temperature. This is a major challenge that manufacturers and technology developers are addressing. To minimize damage to the battery, electric vehicles are quickly charged to about 80% of their capacity, and then the process is slowed to protect the integrity of the battery. Charging devices are designed to control power and ensure it is as least harmful as possible.
Regarding advances, a team of engineers has developed a cable that allows you to charge a battery from zero to 100% in less than 5 minutes. This advance has been achieved by Professor Issam Mudawar, from Purdue University in Indiana, in collaboration with the Ford group. The system implemented uses a liquid-to-vapor phase change refrigeration technology, which has the ability to perform much faster charging in electric vehicles. Unlike conventional liquid cooling systems, this approach avoids increasing the thickness and weight of the cable needed to support liquid cooling. The phase change from liquid to vapor is capable of removing up to 10 times more heat than liquid cooling, according to Professor Mudawar.
In summary, ultra-fast charging represents a significant advance in electric mobility by addressing one of the main challenges of electric vehicles: charging times. Although there are technical considerations and challenges to overcome, its ability to speed up charging times and offer a more convenient experience to users is a big step towards a more sustainable and advanced future in the automotive industry. With a