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Goodbye Range Anxiety? Fast Charging Tech Advances

May 21, 2024 by Jake Hertz

With advanced fast-charging technology, Polestar and Siemens have achieved faster and more powerful battery-charging prototypes.

Range anxiety is a major hindrance to widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Solving range anxiety can take many forms, such as more efficient motors, aerodynamic vehicles, or greater capacity batteries. Developing EV charging infrastructure, whether batteries or charging systems, is a promising path toward eliminating range anxiety.

Polestar and Siemens have each developed EV charging prototypes based on fast-charging advances. These fast chargers could significantly reduce charging times and help address EV range anxiety.

 

Charging a Polestar 5 verification prototype.

Charging a Polestar 5 verification prototype. Image used courtesy of Polestar 

 

Polestar and StoreDot Achieve 10-Minute Charging

In collaboration with StoreDot, Polestar achieved a rapid charge of a Polestar 5 prototype from 10% to 80% battery capacity in just 10 minutes.

The Polestar 5 prototype uses StoreDot's extreme fast charging technology, which leverages silicon-dominant battery cells, known for their potential to handle higher power inputs without significant degradation. Unlike traditional lithium-ion cells, silicon-dominant cells can absorb more ions at a faster rate. This capability was evident as the charging rate began at 310 kW and peaked at over 370 kW toward the end of the charging session. The 77 kWh battery pack used in the test, scalable to at least 100 kWh, added about 200 miles of range in 10 minutes. 

 

Video used courtesy of StoreDot
 

With this fast charging ability, companies can align the time requirements for electric vehicle charging more closely to refueling an internal combustion engine. According to the companies, StoreDot intends to develop charging infrastructure that can charge 100 miles in 5 minutes by 2024, 100 miles in 4 minutes by 2026, and 100 miles in 3 minutes by 2028. 

 

Siemens Megawatt Charging Systems

Siemens significantly advanced EV technology by successfully deploying a prototype Megawatt Charging System (MCS).

The Siemens MCS system reportedly delivered a 1 MW charge for the first time during testing. The MCS leverages Siemens' Sicharge portfolio technology, featuring a customized MCS dispenser that interfaces with the vehicle's charging port. This milestone was achieved through collaboration with an unnamed major original equipment manufacturer who provided a prototype long-haul electric truck for testing. 

 

Prototype of the Megawatt Charging System

Prototype of the Megawatt Charging System. Image used courtesy of Siemens

 

The technology utilized in the MCS focuses on high-power charging capabilities essential for reducing charging times for heavy-duty electric vehicles, particularly those intended for long-haul transport. Traditional electric trucks and buses face battery capacity and charging time challenges, which often limit their practicality for extensive operational use. The introduction of a 1 MW charging capability represents a substantial leap forward, potentially reducing charging times to minutes rather than hours.  

 

Toward Widespread Electric Vehicle Adoption

Before electric vehicles can achieve widespread adoption, the consumer sentiment of range anxiety must be assuaged. To this end, faster and more powerful EV charging is a promising solution because it can more closely align the EV charging experience with refueling an internal combustion engine vehicle. With notable advances from both Polestar and Siemens, the industry is clearly moving in this direction, with both companies hoping for commercialization of their new tech soon.