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New High-Speed Charging Standard Could Boost Interest in EVs

GM, BMW adopt new system, others to follow.

by on Jun.13, 2013

The new high-speed charging system will be available for the launch of the new Chevrolet Spark EV this year.

Along with high prices and limited range, consumers list long charging times as one of the reasons why they’re reluctant to buy battery-based vehicles, whether plug-in hybrids or pure battery-electric models.

But proponents have been hoping to see demand increase with the increased availability of high-speed, so-called Level III chargers that could trim recharging times from hours to minutes. The problem has been that, until now, manufacturers have had several different high-speed charging options to choose from and that’s held off broader adoption that could put these chargers within easy reach of consumers.

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General Motors and BMW, however, have both agreed to sign on to a new standard designed to allow any battery car, whatever the brand, and whether plug-in or pure BEV, to get an 80% recharge in as little as 20 minutes.  A number of other makers, including Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, have also indicated they will adopt the standard.


Tesla Plans Cross-Continent Expansion of Supercharger Network

Battery-carmaker hopes to end “range anxiety.”

by on May.30, 2013

Tesla plans to place "several 100" Supercharger stations across the U.S. and Canada by mid-decade.

Battery-car start-up Tesla Motors hopes to put a quick-charging “supercharger” within the reach of all U.S. motorists – and most of those in Canada – over the next several years, something that could eliminate the so-called “range anxiety” that has so far been a factor in the limited sales of plug-based” vehicles like Tesla’s Model S.

The roll-out of the Tesla Supercharger network will now come twice as fast as originally planned, with about twice as many of them being put in place, according to the maker’s founder and CEO Elon Musk. The fast-charging system will also be upgraded to reduce charging times by nearly half compared to the first chargers now in place, said Musk.

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“It does mean quite a lot to mainstream customers, being able to drive you (battery) car wherever you want to go…at a moment’s notice,” said the South African-born executive. “So (this is) very important to accessing a broader audience” for battery-electric vehicles like the Tesla Model-S sedan that went on sales last summer.


Rapid Recharges Won’t Wear Out Batteries, MIT Determines

Good news for proponents of 30-minute charge stations.

by on Jan.06, 2011

Rapid charging, using Level III chargers like this one, won't seriously degrade electric vehicle batteries, says MIT.

They may be clean and green, but for most American motorists, operating a battery-electric vehicle can be seen as quite a pain.  Most models, such as the 2011 Nissan Leaf, are expected to get no more than about 100 miles per charge, and recharging their lithium-ion batteries can take as much as 12 hours or more.

Factor in the cost penalty of a battery vehicle and most experts predict the technology will, at best account for less than 10% of the U.S. market by 2020.  But what if those range, price and charging challenges are overcome?

The cost of lithium technology is expected to plunge as sales volumes rise and competition expands.  As with other batteries, meanwhile, power density – read range – is also expected to increase.  And proponents believe they can also make charging less of a hassle using high-voltage quick chargers that can top off a drained battery in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.

There has been widespread concern that these so-called Level III chargers could take a toll, significantly reducing battery life, but a new study by Electric Vehicle Team at MIT says such problems have been significantly overstated.

Using lithium batteries from supplier A123 – which will provide the power for the upcoming Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid – the MIT team found that even after 1,500 discharge and rapid recharge cycles the batteries lost barely 10% of their initial capacity.