Battery-car 'fill' now in minutes

2012-05-04 10:58

Battery cars, at least in public perception, have issues about range and recharging. Now, it seems, you could soon be able to "refill' in not much longer than it takes to fill a fuel tank and pop into the garage shop for a pie and coffee.

German and US automakers will demonstrate quick-charging technology that will enable electric vehicles to be recharged in 15-20 minutes, just  like a human.

Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, GM, Porsche and VW are supporting a single-port (power plug connection) fast-charge approach called DC-fast charging for electric vehicles that will be demonstrated during an Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 from May 6-9, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.


The combined charging system integrates one-phase AC charging, quick three-phase AC charging, DC charging at home and ultra-fast DC-charging at public stations into a single port that resembles a giant travel adaptor. This will allow customers to recharge at most charging stations regardless of the power source and may reduce the cost of charging due to standardised infrastructure.

The European Asssociation of Vehicle Manufacturers has also selected the combined system as its AC/DC-charging interface for all new vehicle types in Europe for 2017.

The charging system design was based on a collaborative review of existing charging strategies in the US and Europe.

CCS stations should be available later in 2012 with automakers already redesigning current electric vehicle sockets to use the system.

The first vehicles using this technology will be launched in 2013.

  • chris.shield - 2012-05-04 12:21

    I still don't understand why manufacturers don't just use removable battery packs, drop the pack out the bottom of the car and swap it for a full one. This could be automated to happen in less than a minute. When you buy the car you pay a deposit on a battery pack in the same way as you rent your gas bottles for your heater at home...

      Tandas - 2012-05-04 13:49

      Yes chrisX... I agree with you... You still don't understand...

      lourensenchrisna.kruger - 2012-05-04 14:21

      yes lets pop out a battery that weights 50 or more kilos, I am sure my wife will love this

      chris.shield - 2012-05-04 14:33

      Oh please! you know what I mean. I'm not talking about manhandling the pack yourself, an automatic apparatus could be used that you drive over it clicks up onto the battery pack, lowers it and replaces it with another one. It's not new technology, this sort of automated heavy equipment handling apparatus is used all over the place already...

      Phoenix - 2012-05-04 15:49

      There are systems that work like that. Renault (if memory serves) is punting exactly such a system. Full packs are stored at garages and the change happens in an automated, mechanical fashion as the batteries are heavy.

      Peter - 2012-05-04 16:48

      Good idea ChrisX. I'm still baffled with the concept of an electric car in the first place. Anyone done an energy balance calculation lately? Most power stations still use fossil fuels which means more will be burnt generating the electricity versus what would have been saved by using the god damn electric car in the first place!

      neil.margolius - 2012-05-04 20:55

      HI Chris, This system does exist and has been unveiled in Israel and Denmark. It was created by a company called better place. http://www.betterplace.com/ you drive into the station and an automated system (much like going through a car wash) maneuvers your car into position, where the battery is removed. The whole process takes less than five minutes. Basically you buy the car, but not the batteries, and you pay a yearly fee for as many battery replacements as you need depending on how far you drive. It is an amazing innovation, and solves the biggest problem of electric vehicles. now you can drive more than 200 km's without having to wait 8-16 hours to recharge.

      Ernst - 2012-05-04 21:16

      @Peter: "Charging" a petrol car by filling up with petrol or diesel is a very dirty process. The oil has to be: 1) Extracted (this generates greenhouse gasses and oil spills) 2) Transported to refineries (this generates greenhouse gasses) 3) Refined into petrol or diesel (this generates greenhouse gasses i.e. uses electricity that comes from burning coal) 4) Stored and pumped (this generated greenhouse gasses) 5) Transported to filling stations (this generates greenhouse gasses) 6) Burned in your car (this generates greenhouse gasses) on the other hand, an electric car uses electricity to charge a battery. This electricity can come from a variety of sources i.e. solar, wind, nuclear, coal etc. To conclude: Even if dirty electricity is used, an EV is still substantially cleaner than a petrol / diesel car.

      carel.venter - 2012-05-05 15:15

      Just think about the cost and environmental impact this would have - each "filling station" need to keep a minimum level of stock. Battery life cycle environmental cost is probably the biggest in the whole electrical car setup. This will be similar to LP gas bottles - just much higher levels of stock of environmentally unfriendly product. Counter productive for the cause of going green.

      Ernst - 2012-05-05 15:49

      @Carel_Venter: "Battery life cycle environmental cost is probably the biggest in the whole electrical car setup." The issue regarding EV batteries not being environmentally friendly is largely overblown. The fact is that the car you currently own also uses batteries. What happens to these once they have expired?

      Koos - 2012-05-06 19:26

      Chris: For your proposal to happen, standardisation of batteries is required. However every manyfacturer and every model will have it's own design, size and especially technology of batteries. Standardisation is not going to happen - as the car battery technology is on a gallop right now. In future, every manufacturer is going to try to outsmart other manufacturers with ever improving batteries.

  • Mark - 2012-05-04 16:55

    No thanks, I wouldn't want somebody else's crappy battery fitted into my electric car. Batteries are, in essence, mechanical items that need to be looked after. Poor charging or running the battery completely flat can damage it. So I would rather have a cup of coffee and pie while it charges and know that I'll get to my destination safely.

  • James - 2012-05-04 20:03

    Viable batts are ten years away. Top of the line F1 batt deliver 80 hp for a few seconds and cost $70,000. And no Lithium ain doing it either.

  • Press - 2012-05-05 21:23

    @Peter - no - recent research suggests battery cars already cleaner than petrol cars - before we consider the possibility of clean energy.

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