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Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle Charging

(Rick Sander, CEO, Thursday, November 7, 2019)

For most of the recent future, high-power charging systems (those with greater than 100kW of output) have been the domain of DoT Class 6/7/8 electric vehicles (EVs) with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVR) over 19,500 lbs (public transit buses, short/medium haul trucks, and long-haul trucks). Most light-duty EVs (those with a GVR of 19,500 lbs or less), and especially electric automobiles, were charged with Level 1 or Level 2 chargers, which have a power output of under 6kW. While these chargers were great for use at home or on the job where the car could be plugged in for 8 hours at a time (adding 150-160 miles of range per charge), they weren’t practical as “filling stations” for EVs on cross-country drives (after all, who wants to wait at the gas station for four hours or more?). This is where Level 3 (or “fast”) chargers entered the picture. These chargers can output up to 50kW of power, providing 90 miles of range in 30 minutes. Tesla’s Version 3 Super Chargers can output up to 250kW of power per dispenser, with four dispensers driven by a single 1MW power conditioning unit (PCU).
With these new high-power chargers come some new high-power problems. Think about a charging station with a dozen fast chargers – if all of the dispensers are being utilized, the total power draw would be 600kW. If (even worse) the dozen chargers were Tesla v3 Super Chargers, the power draw would be 3MW. That’s a pretty big power feed to drive one recharging station. This is where energy storage enters the picture – it is critical for stabilizing the power available to drive high-power EV chargers. As experts in high-power systems, Rhombus understands how to build high-reliability systems, and how to integrate these systems with energy storage solutions. Find out how we can help you by contacting us at sales@rhombusenergy.com, or stop by booth 433 at the ESNA Show and talk to us.

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