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The final obstacle for consumers when it comes to buying an electric car, battery charge times are coming down fast. Leading the way, Porsche has just installed its first ultra-fast charging stations at its Berlin offices, with a 15-minute charge returning 300km of range. 

 

The range of electric cars is increasing all the time, with entry-level vehicles now capable of travelling more than 300km on a single charge, more than double their luxury counterparts. Despite the latest advances, however, charging remains a problem, one that is holding back the electric car’s expansion, as reported by Caradisiac website.

Compared to the time it takes to fill a car up with petrol or diesel, charging a battery remains a relatively slow process.

 

The rise of ultra-fast charging

 

It was at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show that Porsche unveiled its new Mission E concept, a top-of-the-range 600bhp Tesla-rivalling electric car. It takes a high-capacity battery and charger to power that kind of performance, which is exactly what the German carmaker has come up with: an 800-volt charging station (400 volts more than conventional stations) delivering an 80% charge in just 15 minutes.



The new Porsche charger delivers 350kW of power, easily trumping the 2017 market-leading Tesla supercharger, which can manage 120kW. Though the station can charge any battery that uses the format, the only drawback is that cars and plugs are currently unable to handle such power. The latest regulation pertaining to quick charging systems – the Combined Charging System (CCS) or Combo 2 – limits direct current charging power levels to a European-standard 170kW. Batteries are similarly restricted, and in most cases stations are limited to the maximum power accepted by the vehicle.

Mission E is not due to be launched until 2019, however, and most manufacturers are currently working on projects that will drive the development of rapid charger standards.

 

Current performance levels

 

Among the models that have moved beyond the prototype stage and are now on the market is the Renault Zoé ZE40. Launched in 2016 and now the best-selling electric car in France, it boasts a 22kW charger that delivers an 80% charge in an hour and 40 minutes.

A recent South Korean arrival on the market, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric can achieve an 80% charge in just 24 minutes thanks to its 100kW charger.

The power rating of chargers has tripled over the last two years, while they can now charge cars in tens of minutes or even minutes, a time comparable to filling up at the fuel pumps. Such developments looked unlikely in 2015, when the Mission E specifications seemed a little exaggerated. The question now is, what will the charger of 2020 look like?

 

Allianz Partners

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