Ultra-Fast-Charging Stations with 500 kW Rates in Development, 0-100% in Minutes

Most of the electric cars on the roads today - the very few you can find - can hardly go over 50 kW when charging, making replenishing their batteries quite a time-consuming task.
Phoenix Contact HPC station 1 photo
Photo: Phoenix Contact
While EVs were originally intended as daily commuters with enough range to cover the basic needs of most people for one day, and then recharge slowly overnight, the public's expectations have grown more recently. You can blame it on Tesla.

The Models S and X are currently the only battery-powered automobiles capable of receiving a charge of over 100 kW, and they do so regularly thanks to the Supercharger network put in place by the manufacturer. That made road trips in a Tesla not only possible, but also a very common occurrence.

The other carmakers, the ones we usually call "traditional," are still working on their first real EVs. But as they talk about them, they sometimes claim some impressive charging times. Knowing what's available on the market at the moment, we look at those numbers and wonder whether everything's alright with Hans or he's hallucinating.

What we don't know is what those companies are doing behind closed doors, talking to various suppliers and tech firms and setting up the infrastructure needed to make all that possible. Companies such as Phoenix Contact that has come up with a charging station capable of delivering 500 kW.

The highest rate so far was the 350 kW promised by a consortium of companies that included BMW, Daimler, Ford, and the Volkswagen Group. Now, Phoenix Contact says it has found a way to improve that by almost 50 percent.

The problem so far with such high currents was that the cables and the installation tended to heat up very badly. Phoenix Contact came up with a way to cool both the cable and the DC contacts in the vehicle connector. It uses an environmentally friendly water-glycol mixture as the cooling agent which works together with temperature sensors that regulate its activity.

It is based on the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard, which is the most widely-used solution in Europe. Phoenix Contact doesn't say when it will have the first 500 kW public station installed, but this might just be the breakthrough that will make EVs truly mainstream. All that remains now is for the carmakers to enable their vehicles to receive this kind of amperage.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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