Infrastructure, Vehicle to grid

New Fast-charging EV Infrastructure Will Lessen Grid Strain with Batteries

Accelerating the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure is widely seen as a key step towards furthering the widespread advent of electric transportation but isn’t without challenges. To address some of these challenges, Nidec Industrial Solutions, has unveiled a battery-based, ultra-fast charger (UFC) for electric vehicles (EVs). 

The company claims that the innovative technology not only delivers simplified, high-speed charging for EVs but brings important advantages to electricity grids as the push for clean transportation intensifies.

Matteo Rizzi, Director of Global Sales & Marketing, Renewables at Nidec explained that “the charger is based around power electronics know-how and proven battery energy storage integration systems.”  

The company is a leader in the battery energy storage systems (BESS) sphere, with over 500 MWh of installations throughout the world.

“We’ve been very careful to design a solution…for electricity grids,” he said, adding that as more EVs come to market, they “will bring new challenges and demands to supply grids, including new sources of varying demand, which is hard to plan for. Our battery solution creates a buffer between charger and the grid to avoid these problems.”

Working as a ‘buffer’ between grid and point of charger, Rizzi explained that the system acts as a more stable consumer of energy. He said the company created the UFC with renewable energy in mind.

 “We’ve developed this solution in order to provide an effective EV charging solution, which places the minimum amount of additional pressures on the grid as possible. This is only possible by sourcing power from batteries, instead of just from the grid directly.” 

The buffering technology comes form incorporating a lithium-ion battery pack of around 160 kWh, and power controls, into the charger. 

“With an energy requirement of 50 kW, our technology is able to rapidly supply 320 kW to 350 kW of power output to an EV. This equals delivery of power six to seven times greater than that sourced from the grid.” 

What’s more — at such high power, DC charging is rapid.

“It can enable recharging very quickly — 15 minutes charging will guarantee 500 km EV autonomy,” he said. The calculation, Rizzi noted, is based about modelling of ‘premium, next-generation’ EVs charged to 80 percent capacity.

“The technology can supply either 320 kW at 800 volts to one EV, or supply 160 kW to two EVs in parallel at either 400 volt (covering current base case EVs), or 800 volts (covering next generation EVs).”

 Uniting the advantages of BESS and EVs is a no-brainer according to Rizzi, and brings further opportunities.

“It makes it possible to source power from grid when the price is low — a very convenient feature; and opens the door to Vehicle-to-Grid charging because the system is bidirectional.”

Additionally, storage capacity enables the chargers to utilize renewably generated energy as source for input power to EVs, with chargers potentially fed by wind and solar PV. 

Prototyped and successfully demonstrated in Milan, Nidec are optimistic for rollout: “We’re dealing with different opportunities, and we hope to see initial deployments within the end of the year working with IPPs, O&G giants and first tier car manufacturers.”   

More broadly, Nidec is positioning the UFC as first step within its EV charger roadmap, which aims for 2019 deployment of a low-voltage charging station, which could enable recharging of 12 EVs in one hour and up to 80 EVs in a day, and a medium-voltage charging station with possibility to recharge up to 135 EVs in one hour.