A $5-million research project led by North Carolina State University’s (NCSU’s) FREEDM Systems Center focused on improving the efficiency of, and reducing the cost of, extreme fast charging (XFC) for electric vehicles (EVs) (earlier post) has been awarded an additional $200,000 grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).
XFC will allow EV owners to charge their vehicles at a much faster rate than a Level 1 or Level 2 EV charger. Level 1 chargers, which rely on standard 120V outlets and alternating current, are the slowest available charging method, taking approximately 50 hours to charge a standard 70kWh EV battery. Level 2 chargers utilize 240V outlets and require approximately 7.5 hours to fully charge a standard 70kWh battery.
The XFC charger this project seeks to develop and demonstrate will be an ultra-low cost, all-silicon carbide modular power converter for direct current charging equipment which can connect directly to a medium-voltage distribution system. These chargers target reducing the time to fully charge a standard 70kWh EV battery to as little as 15 minutes.
Silicon carbide power electronics can operate at much higher voltages and temperatures than traditional electronics based on silicon technology. This approach eliminates the 60 hertz transformer that normally steps the grid voltage down to 480 volts. Eliminating this low frequency transformer and associated low voltage switchgear decreases the overall footprint of the extreme fast charger, which is very important for fleet owners that may have space constraints.
The goal of this new project is to bring extreme fast charging much closer to market realization and support the continued adoption of electric vehicles by reducing consumers’ charge anxiety. We could not achieve that without collaboration from project partners like ComEd.—Srdjan Lukic, Ph.D., NC State professor, deputy director of FREEDM and Principal Investigator for the project
The project will be broken into two phases focused on cost analysis & system development and system demonstration, respectively.
After the charging systems have been developed, ComEd’s Grid Integration and Technology (GrIT) Lab in Maywood, Ill., will serve as the initial testing location for this new technology, providing an independent validation of the XFC system performance.
ComEd will also support phase two of the project by identifying ideal locations on the distribution grid to demonstrate this technology, unlocking the potential for wider deployment.
The full $5-million XFC EV development and demonstration project is funded through collaborator cost shares including $200,000 from ComEd. Additional collaborators on this project include Danfoss, GoTriangle, New York Power Authority and North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center.