Owners of electric cars know it well: charging can be a real headache. Two researchers are about to revolutionize this sector thanks to a universal charger.
The world of electric cars, as promising as it is, is currently in a state of confusion when it comes to charging systems. With a variety of vehicles operating at different battery voltages, the question arises: is it possible to create a universal charger that fits all? A recent study suggests that this dream could come true.
A problematic heterogeneity
Right now, electric car owners may face a headache when it comes to charging their vehicles. Current models such as the MG4, Tesla Model 3, and Mercedes-Benz EQA, to name a few, operate on battery voltages between 250 and 450 volts.
However, a new wave of electric cars, including the Porsche Taycan, the Lucid Air and the Kia EV6, adopt higher voltages, oscillating between 600 and 800 volts. The latter offer the advantage of reducing recharging times, making life more practical for users on long journeys.
The future: a universal charger
In this jungle of configurations, a ray of hope arises from a research paper published in the September edition of IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. Researchers Deepak Ronanki and Harish Karneddi designed a charger capable of handling voltages ranging from 120 to 900 V.
The genius of this charger lies in its two-level configuration. It is equipped with a power factor correction (PFC) front-end circuit, followed by a reconfigurable DC-DC converter. The term ” boost buck takes on its full meaning here: the charger can increase or decrease the voltage as needed. Simulations conducted by the researchers show that the charger can safely adapt to any voltage within the expected range. It features over 94% efficiency, outperforming traditional chargers.
The advantage of such a charger is twofold. On the one hand, it eliminates the need for specific chargers for each vehicle. As Deepak Ronanki points out, this universal charger could even serve as an emergency kit, remedying unexpected breakdowns or deep battery discharges. On the other hand, by planning to market it as an on-board charging unit, the production costs of the chargers could be drastically reduced.
The path to commercialization has already been mapped out: a patent is being filed, and collaborations with industrial players are under discussion. Moreover, the research duo plans to extend the application of their charger to other types of vehicles, especially electric bikesbut also motorcycles and scooters, paving the way for long-awaited standardization in the field of electric mobility.
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