Have a Super-Fast Car Charging System? The Department of Energy and $15 Million Want to Talk to You
When you talk and write a lot about electric cars (and I do), the same topics crop up over and over again like cat hair on your black blazer, even though you just lint-rolled it. One of the most pervasive always comes from people who are generally for electric vehicles, but say something to effect of, “But I wouldn’t get one if I have to sit at a charging station for a half hour to fill it up.”
Of course, whether or not that’s really valid based on how people charge their cars (mostly at home, overnight or while at work), the US Department of Energy appears to also be sick of this barrier to EV adoption, as it has announced a brand new funding initiative to speed creation of what it has dubbed “Extreme Fast Charging,” or XFC, systems.
At its core, the initiative offers a sweet $15 million (in total) to the developers of extremely rapid charging systems, including both charger and batteries. More specifically, the DOE has a few stipulations.
First, the tech has to halve current fast-charging times, which is generally about a half-hour for an 80% charge from empty, though it seems the target is a 10-minute charge.
Then, developers have to do some significant legwork—identify baseline plug-in vehicles, show how the tech will improve charging times (with demonstration), use less than 400 amps of current, offer a plan for where charging locations could be located (with estimates on infrastructure impact), and show partnerships with governments and other supporters, all while offering a battery that charges by at least 50% with a “3C or greater rate of charging”—I believe that “3C” refers to current, and would mean using 300 amps of current.
Clearly, this is a big task, but that would be why the DOE has put such a high price tag on the innovation. Plus, if you were able to create a system that put electric vehicles on the map, you would think that $15 million from government grants could be just the first big check of many.