Japanese Firm Lets EVs Refill Faster Than a Gas Car

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Nissan LEAF Charging Port

Nissan LEAF Charging Port

What can you do in three minutes? Boil a egg? Buy a Coffee? Check your Mail? Visit the bathroom?

Thanks to Japanese based JFE Engineering, you can now add half-charging your EV to the list, courtesy of its ultra-fast charge station.

Designed to comply with the CHAdeMo standard developed by Tokyo Electric Power Company, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota, the system is capable of charging a 2011 Mistubishi i-Miev from empty to 50% full in just three minutes.

Even just three minutes plugged into the fast-charge station was enough to enable a standard 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev to travel a further 50 miles before further charging was required.

Mitsubishi's own fast charger, as illustrated at the end of this article by EV advocate, actor and TV presenter Robert Llewellyn, takes between 15 and 30 minutes to fill up an empty i-Miev to full.

The cheapest version of the JFE Engineering charger costs a massive $60,000 so it's highly unlikely they will be purchased in large numbers for private use. However, with a 0-50% recharge taking three minutes and a 0-70% recharge taking five minutes the charging station may well be fast enough to be utilized at conventional gas stations, where a five minute refill time is in line with any gas car on the market today.

For gas stations placed in prime EV markets such as the Washington DC to New York Corridor, a $60,000 investment could pay for itself very quickly as EV drivers willingly pay to enable them to drive several hundred mile trips in one day.

While there are as yet no plans to bring the charger to the U.S. market, JFE Engineering plans to install its ultra-fast charging stations at gas stations and convenience stores all over Japan by the end of March 2011.

Fast, high power charging, or Level III Fast DC charging as it is known, has yet to be defined as part of the SAE J1772 electric vehicle charging standard adopted by U.S. automakers. However, the 2011 Nissan Leaf will ship with support for both CHAdeMo and J1772 charging stations.

At 24kWh the 2011 Nissan Leaf has a much larger battery pack than the 16kWh battery pack of the Mitsubishi i-Miev, so just like filling two cars with different sizes of gas tank, expect the larger capacity pack to take longer to refill, even on the ultra-fast charging station.

Public Charging Station for electric cars, courtesy Mitsubishi Motors

Public Charging Station for electric cars, courtesy Mitsubishi Motors

Basic math would indicate it is quite feasible to expect a 0-50% recharge time of a Leaf-sized battery pack to take between five and six minutes at a similar charge rate.

While fast charge stations will not require anywhere near the expanses of land battery swap stations like those being tested by Better Place need in order to store and charge the huge number of batteries the system requires, consideration will have to be given to the massive high-voltage power lines needed to power a charger capable of recharging an EV so quickly.

But for retail locations and gas stations, the 62.5 kW power requirements of each charger should not be impossible to accommodate in all but the remotest of locations.

[CrunchGear]

 
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