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Siemens and Volvo bring EV charge times down to 90 minutes


April 25, 2013

The fast-charger system uses a three-phase outlet to bring about a 164 km (102 mi) range i...

The fast-charger system uses a three-phase outlet to bring about a 164 km (102 mi) range in 1.5 hours

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When it comes to electric vehicles, the conversation invariably diverts to concerns about vehicle range, infrastructure, and recharge times. To address the last of those issues, Volvo and Siemens have developed a new fast-charging system that cuts recharge times down to 90 minutes.

The new 22-kW fast-charger system, fitted to a Volvo C30 Electric, is reported to be the world's first on-board charger that operates on a three-phase supply. The system, small enough to fit innocuously inside the vehicle, uses a three-phase outlet to provide enough charge for a range of 164 km (102 mi) in 90 minutes (based on a NEDC certification driving cycle). This compared to a 230-V single-phase household outlet that takes 8 to 10 hours to charge, depending on available current.

A new Siemens electric motor develops peak power output of 89 kW (120 hp) and 250 Nm (184 lb.ft) of torque to the Volvo’s wheels. These figures give the EV a top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph) and a 0 to 70 km/h (42 mph) time of 5.9 seconds. Range is reported at 163 km (101 mi) on a full charge.

The electric badge on the charge port is the only way to pick the C30 electric from the cr...

Charging using a 400-V, 10A–32A outlet is where the quick turnaround comes from, but if only a standard socket is available then you’re looking at a 10-hour charge. Essentially, high output is a primary requirement to achieve such short turnaround times. So again, infrastructure issues play a part in the vehicle’s real-world ability to throw down these recharge figures.

A charge port on the C30's front grille is where the juice is fed to the fast-charger, located under hood. It then triple feeds the 24-kWh lithium-ion batteries laid out mid-frame in the car. Energy consumption for the C30 is rated at 17.5 kWh/100 km. Inside the 5-door hatchback, the only telling EV feature is a shortish, aluminum-brushed shifter in the shape of a figure 7. Reverse, neutral and drive keep the options simple. C30 weighs out at 1,725 kg (3,803 lbs) with the battery pack making up 330 kg (727 lbs) of the total package.

Formed in August 2011, the mandate of Siemens' and Volvo's partnership has been to further develop electric vehicles and systems. "Adding the fast charging solution will radically improve the time and mileage for the daily usage of the car,” claims Lennart Stegland, Vice President of Electric Propulsion Systems for the Volvo Car Group. "This will drastically improve the cost of ownership since the customer will now be able to drive many low cost kilometers per day. Even a quick 10-minute plug-in adds power for another 20 kilometers of driving."

Leasing customers in Continental Europe will have the opportunity to drive and evaluate a demo fleet of 100 Volvo C30 fully electric cars in the coming months. Volvo claims the technology will be applied across its EV range in the future.

Source: Volvo

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine.   All articles by Angus MacKenzie

So you get to average 34mph on road trips assuming that you can find High power outlets suitably distributed along your path.

What does it do to battery life?

25th April, 2013 @ 04:52 pm PDT

Thirty-eight hundred pounds? Give me a break! What would cutting the curb weight by half (reasonable) do for range, double? Then cutting the drag? This is not rocket science. If these car makers had been put in charge of NASA we wouldn't have a moon landing yet.

Don Duncan
26th April, 2013 @ 10:39 am PDT

@ Don Duncan

I agree - when you subtract the weight of the batteries it's still far from a lightweight vehicle. The manufacturers need to get serious about weight reduction. Apart from that, any advance in charging times and range increase is welcome.

@ Slowburn

I doubt it will impact battery life. All it is doing is charging with 3 phases simultaneously instead of one. The net result isn't actually changing the current charging individual batteries, just charging them in parallel instead of one at a time.

27th April, 2013 @ 09:58 pm PDT

re; Australian

Dumping energy into the batteries at three time the rate has no effect. Really?

28th April, 2013 @ 04:44 pm PDT

Slowburn, yes. No effect. Imagine 12 batteries powering a car. They are all connected in a line (in series). To charge them all together in that arrangement, you can only push so much current through all batteries at the same time before the internal resistance creates heat. Once the heat becomes an issue it increases the net resistance to the charging current.

If you break the 12 batteries into 3 groups of 4 then you have series-parallel charging. You can put three times the current into the batteries simultaneously and reduce the net resistance by a third in doing so. You will still have batteries getting hot but the net resistance will be seen as less to the charging current when compared to 12 batteries in series. It's probably a lot simpler concept than it first seems.

29th April, 2013 @ 04:18 am PDT

re; Australian

you are still putting energy into the batteries at 3 times the previous rate. Unless the batteries were already divided into 3 groups and charged sequentially without rolling through cooling cycles.

29th April, 2013 @ 01:41 pm PDT
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