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AeroVironment looks to simplify EV charging with TurboCord dual-voltage cordset

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March 12, 2014

AeroVironment's TurboCord works with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets

AeroVironment's TurboCord works with 120-volt and 240-volt outlets

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With the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid electric vehicles, some employers have come to the party and installed charging stations for their employees. Now AeroVironment has released its TurboCord, which allows businesses to provide faster EV charging by simply installing NEMA 6-20R 240-volt outlets, rather than going to the expense of providing dedicated charging units.

Although better known to Gizmag readers for its Global Observer and other small UAVs, Aerovironment supplies home chargers for a number of global automakers including Fiat, Ford, Mitsubishi and Nissan. Although the TurboCord won't juice up a vehicle as fast as a dedicated charging point, AeroVironment says that using a 240-volt outlet, the TurboCord will charge a vehicle three times faster than standard cordsets.

The UL (Underwriters Laboratory) listed TurboCord is available in two versions: a 240-volt only version and a dual-voltage cordset that will work with standard 120-volt outlets and, with a clip-on adapter, 240-volt outlets. With its 20-ft (6 m) cord length, the TurboCord weighs under 5 lb (2.2 kg) and boasts NEMA 6P waterproof certification for indoor and outdoor charging. It also features thermal sensors to monitor the temperature of the unit and the wall connection.

The dual-voltage TurboCord and 240-volt adapter

Its safety features allow users to leave the TurboCord plugged in permanently, with charging stopping automatically when the battery reaches a full charge. If you need to get up and go before charging is complete, the coupler can be removed from the vehicle with no ill effects. LEDs on the unit indicate whether charging is taking place.

According to AeroVironment, using a 240-volt outlet the TurboCord can fully charge a Nissan LEAF or Fiat 500e in around six hours, or plug-in hybrids such as the Ford C-Max Energi in less than three hours.

The TurboCord is available now with the dual-voltage unit retailing for US$649 and the 240-voly only version selling for $599.

Source: AeroVironment

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
7 Comments

And so birth is given to the development of the dedicated commuter car: something cheap and functional. Something designed unashamedly for the sole purpose of local journeys to and from work and shopping centres. Something that, ironically, displays status because of its obvious commuter car role. Something with, perhaps, even with its own dedicated traffic lane, where space allows, of course.

There is one fly in the ointment: if such a vehicle became popular, would the grid be able to meet the demand?

On a practical note, if charging points are going to be provided by employers, there needs to be some way of charging for the charging, so to speak.

Mel Tisdale
13th March, 2014 @ 04:29 am PDT

One could suppliment the power from power companies with solar panels and wind power. I have seen car ports with solar panels on the roof to charge the vehicle inside it. There is also developement on better batteries too. I think batteries could be supplimented with fuel cells, which is also has development being done to make them more affordable. I think this could be part of a green solution.

Some electric vehicles are not restricted to neighborhoods. I read that the Smart ED is highway capable as well as other electric vehicles.

BigGoofyGuy
13th March, 2014 @ 05:40 am PDT

I don't get it. If EV manufacturers sell charger/cords with their cars, then why would customers spend another 6 hundred bucks on another one?

As these kinds of transport become more ubiquitous, it makes sense for cafes and other retail outlets to have parking lots with charge stations to cater to the captivated customers who have to kill some time.

New store pitch: SHOP AND CHARGE HERE! Coming to your neighborhood soon!

...and if you put it all on your credit card, it's: SHOP AND DOUBLE CHARGE! :)

owlbeyou
13th March, 2014 @ 08:31 am PDT

A nice unit but way pricey for what it is. A better price would be $200 or so still giving decent profit. Plus it'll sell far more. The resulting specs we are getting show how engineers get carried away with standards. Just why do EV's need new outlets, plugs when fine ones at low cost are widely available from RV, boating, industry.

Heck I still use 120vac because there are about 4 billion US outlets to charge from.

It does save the property owner a lot, $400 or so for say 10 outlets by the building super in many cases. Or just have a pole drop isn't that pricey, rather cheap in fact. Best put them away from the popular parking spots so problems don't arise between EV's and ICE cars, owners. We'll happily walk a little farther for this help, protection.

The adaptors can be found already online for under $240/EV set to use lower cost electrical outlets.

Sadly the old dryer/RV 240vac outlets/plugs that cost less than $10 each will do the same job including level 2 / fifty amps which is fairly fast charging, more than most EV's can take..

For our posters questions, etc, EV charging will stabilize the grid, not hurt it. That is the US utility view, not just making stuff up. Check out V2G, smart grid for details.

Many EV's are already solar charged including Tesla's and most EV buyers already had or got solar because it's a very profitable ROI now since PV dropped 90 percent in price over 10 yrs.

In fact well done solar is coming in around $2k/kw, half of most utility company rates and a 20-30percent ROI/yr!! sunelec for parts/kits and local electrician to install.

While better batteries are a great idea, the ones we have are fine, we just need better, much lighter and more aero, etc chassis/bodies to put them in. Lowering the price will help thought that is almost here, under $200/kwhr. That is lower that premium lead batteries already and likely be about $140/kwhr in 4 yrs or so, equal to lead batteries but 1/3 the weight.

And any range over 100 miles is just a waste in most cases because you just carry, pay for batteries rarely used. A much smarter choice is a tiny fueled very eff generator for unlimited range weighs, costs much less and uses less energy so you go farther/kwhr with a lighter pack.

jerryd
13th March, 2014 @ 09:10 am PDT

i have one of these as I recently got a Chevy Volt. The car came with a 120V charger but it takes 10-12 hours to charge the car. Chevy also sells a 440V charger. The TurboCord is that it is about 1/2 the weight and can plug into either a 120V or 240V socket to charge your vehicle. So you only need one charger for both type outlets. In addition, the batteries will last longer with a 240V charge, and you can get cheaper electricity if you charge at off-peak hours and real time electric rates. Worth it!

Fred

Fred Ege
13th March, 2014 @ 12:25 pm PDT

Good idea - Have the lightest load of batteries you usually will need (safety margin optional) and then give a friend or store owner a couple of bucks or a 6-pack if they are that way inclined, to top up again.

Still cheaper than dragging extra batteries around!

With cars being made lighter, the options for, say, retro fitting, are getting closer all the time!

The Skud
13th March, 2014 @ 06:58 pm PDT

jerryd said it all but it is so important I have to reiterate one point: The solution to a practical EV/HEV is here. It has not been used. And it has been proven theoretically over 20 years ago. A more efficient platform is the first priority, no matter the energy source. But with lightweight (under 2K lb. curb weight) and low drag (under .2), all doable now, energy consumption can be cut in half or better. Plus low drag increases safety at freeway speeds. Lighter cars collide with less mass making for more bounce and less crunch.

So why has nobody done it? Aptera did, finally. And they could not get to production, thanks to incompetent management seeking govt. handouts.

Don Duncan
14th March, 2014 @ 01:38 am PDT
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