Charging up EVs in less than an hour -- with one catch

Charging up EVs in less than an hour -- with one catch

Its power density of 1.9 kW/kgm makes the NLG6 fast charger one of the most efficient devices on the market, claims its Swiss developer BRUSA Elektronik AG. It is small enough to fit in a typical EV and will charge up the car in less than an hour.

But there is one catch: It needs a three-phase power source. That might be a problem in the U.S., but is less so for European users for whom the charger is designed.

Two factors determine the charging time of an electric car: battery size charger capacity. On-board chargers in Europe normally operate with a maximum power of 3.7 kW and deliver charging times that range typically between 6 and 8 hours.

Until now, fast charging was only possible by using off-board dc charging infrastructure. The new charger needs no expensive off-board infrastructure, just an ordinary three-phase power supply. Houses in Europe and most public charging points are already equipped with the necessary power supply of 400 V and 32 A.

The fast charger can communicate through its charging cable to allow internet connectivity or intelligent charging to help stabilize the grid. Other intelligent features of the charger include idle and peak power regulation and bidirectional operation. It is expected to become available in October 2012.

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