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Continental unveils AllCharge charging system; using the EV powertrain as a universal charger; up to 800V and 350 kW and all types of stations

Continental has developed innovative charging technology called “AllCharge” that uses the electric powertrain of an EV as a universal charger supporting all types of cable-based charging stations. AllCharge can always use the maximum output rate—up to 800V and 350 kW—at all types of stations: single-phase and three-phase AC or high-speed DC.

Continental is presenting and demonstrating the technology at the Continental Tech Show in June 2017 and at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The AllCharge system by Continental is based on the components of a conventional electric powertrain (comprising electric motor and inverter) for switching between DC and AC power. Since constant AC/DC switching at different voltages is already an inherent feature of the electric powertrain, these components already possess all the necessary capabilities to function as a charging system. By exploiting these capabilities, Continental is now able to provide interoperability with different charging technologies using an onboard, vehicle-based solution.

The system is basically a modified electric powertrain in which the electric motor and inverter (which switches between DC and AC power) have been specially adapted to handle the additional task of charging. The only extra component involved in this system is a DC/DC converter, the job of which is to ensure an optimally regulated power flow to the battery at all times.

The vehicle is equipped with a single cable connector, but there are two possible charging current paths to the battery.

  • In the case of AC current, the current flows from the charging station via the electric motor to the inverter, where it is converted into DC current before being supplied to the battery.

  • In the case of DC current, the current from the charging station flows directly through the inverter to the battery.

AllCharge works with any type of charging station, and can operate at a rate of up to 800 V and a power from 150 kW today and up to 350 kW for special premium applications. Drivers also have 230 volts of AC power available for onboard use if needed. The AllCharge system’s V2D (vehicle-to-device) technology also allows the vehicle battery to be used to power mobile electrical devices ranging from a laptop to a refrigerator or an electric drill.

Today, EV drivers often end up parking at a charging station that doesn’t allow them to charge as fast as they would like. With Continental’s AllCharge powertrain, drivers no longer need to worry about finding the right type of charging station. Their vehicle is equipped for every type of technology, from single-phase or three-phase AC to high-speed DC systems. The maximum benefit can be reached for urban AC charging stations, here a 12 times faster charging is possible.

—Dr. Oliver Maiwald, Head of Technology & Innovation in the Powertrain Division at Continental

Recharging an electric vehicle still leaves something to be desired in terms of everyday user-friendliness. For example, the selected charging station may only offer slow single-phase AC charging or alternatively, if it does offer high-speed DC charging, the vehicle itself may not be equipped with the necessary technology to support this.

Efforts to expand the current infrastructure confront a recurring dilemma: single-phase and three-phase AC charging stations, which are cheaper to install and therefore the most widespread type of charging point, entail relatively long charging times, making them impractical for long trips, while high-speed DC charging stations, with their expensive technology, are still relatively scarce. What’s more, many electric cars are not yet equipped for high-voltage DC charging.

What was always lacking up until now was some sort of universal solution capable of working with any type of charging station. Such a universal solution is now available in the form of AllCharge.

With 350 kW DC charging, five minutes charging time provides approximately 150 km of driving range—a good indication of our charging system’s true potential. No matter how quickly the infrastructure develops in future, a vehicle with AllCharge technology will always be able to make the most of the selected charging station’s capacity.

—Dr. Martin Brüll, a responsible expert for the new charging system

Comments

Engineer-Poet

The question is, can the BATTERY handle that kind of power?  A Leaf has what, a 25 kWh battery?  350 kW is a 14 C rate; a mere 150 kW is 6 C.  Such currents are like running the powertrain at absolute max power for minutes at a time.  It's going to stress the components and shorten their lifetimes.

HarveyD

Quick charging near future 100+ kWh batteries will need much higher capacity charging facilities, like 800+ DC at 750+ KW? It is a strong possibility before 2025 or so.

Chargers, cables, connectors and batteries will have to be adapted/redesign to accept higher level charging or be electronically restricted to the weaker link.

Arnold

Smart move. It makes sense to realise the potential of the existing on board equipment for not only smart charging but also Continental could consider enabling opening the throttle for power export as either option or likely at negligible extra cost standard component.

Obviously the charging infrastructure is limited to available supply.

The smart electronics seen these days have the ability to manage the charge rate and strategies for state of charge chemistry voltages etc. This can be at the program level or if out of range use a closed loop style diagnostic and adaptive strategy.
Expect builtin battery diagnostic and fault report available each time you charge.

With connected cars with over the air updates, wifi connected chargers and charger updates should be possible.
Exciting possibilities - slowly slowly.

Foersom

@Engineer-Poet
A Leaf like car with a small battery will just use 50 - 80 kW charger to stay at 2-3 C. The car can just limit charging power. For CCS there is a protocol between car and charger. 350 kW charging is intended for large car batteries ~100 kWh, and for trucks and buses.

Engineer-Poet

Speaking of using the vehicle's propulsion electronics to regulate charging—you realize that this more or less re-invents AC Propulsion's reductive charging system, circa 2000?

Foersom

@Engineer-Poet
Who are you answering? Please state name when answering.

SJC

No one has to do anything except not insult.

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