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Power Transportation Technology

Company Builds Fast Charging Station For Electric Cars 359

Posted by samzenpus
from the fast-as-lightning dept.
thecarchik writes "Japanese based JFE Engineering has released its ultra-fast charge station. Designed to comply with the CHAdeMo standard developed by Tokyo Electric Power Company, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Toyota, the system is capable of charging a 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev from empty to 50% full in just three minutes. Even just three minutes plugged into the fast-charge station was enough to enable a standard 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev to travel a further 50 miles before further charging was required."

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Company Builds Fast Charging Station For Electric Cars

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  • by JesseL (107722) * on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:34PM (#32835214) Homepage Journal

    This thing is putting nearly a quarter megawatt (240kw) drain on the power grid during use.

    I wonder if it has some sort of means of load smoothing and a limited duty cycle, or if it's going to need its own substation.

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:37PM (#32835238) Homepage Journal

      I would be inclined to stand back before switching the power on. And I don't think I would leave the kids in the car during the charging operation.

      • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @04:44AM (#32836698)

        I would be inclined to stand back before switching the power on. And I don't think I would leave the kids in the car during the charging operation.

        But you're happy to have your kids in a car while you fill it up with 50 liters of some toxic and highly flammable liquid or even gas.

        • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @05:18AM (#32836846) Homepage Journal

          I would be inclined to stand back before switching the power on. And I don't think I would leave the kids in the car during the charging operation.

          But you're happy to have your kids in a car while you fill it up with 50 liters of some toxic and highly flammable liquid or even gas.

          You don't have to heat the fuel tank to do that.

          • by v1 (525388) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @08:44AM (#32838174) Homepage Journal

            You don't have to heat the fuel tank to do that.

            True. But instead, you're venting HIGHLY flammable AND explosive gasses out of the tank and back down the hose into the station's tank. Most people don't know about that. (liquid gas by itself is NOT explosive, it's merely flammable - gas vapor OTOH is highly explosive, which is why we use it for fuel) When you're pushing 15 gallons into the tank, there's a reason there's not a whoosh of gas vapor out around the nozzle from the displacement occurring.

            They do that of course (1) as a safety measure and (2) to save a buck or two in the long run, as that vapor goes back to the storage tank (instead of sucking in air to replace the lost gas) and some of that will condense back into gas for them to sell.

            Know what happens when there's a problem with the vapor backflow? Nothing. Well, maybe a kaBOOM but what I mean is there's no safety on it. Know what happens when the temps get too high or current inrush spikes? The fast charge system halts the fill. So you see, it's actually safer than a gas quick fill. There's a computer carefully watching many aspects of the charge all the time.

            The gas station really is already giving you a quick-fill, by bending the safety of the system a bit. Don't you hate it when you happen to use a pump somewhere on a road trip that's really SLOW? I remember having to wait 10 minutes for a fill once, in the dead of winter on a road trip. I waited inside, and when I got outside it had JUST finished... AND had just started gushing fuel all over the ground because the full-shutoff failed. (probably the pump and the shutoff were both having issues with the cold, it was well below zero, and it was diesel fuel)

            Also after watching the video you will notice he waited for a FULL charge. They slow down the rate when it gets closer to full. The article states 50% charge in 3 minutes, and yet it took him over 10 to get 100% charge, so the remaining 50% requires 7 more minutes. Probably a higher ratio than that even, as he said he didn't get it fully discharged. Looks like they're probably taking the conservative side of safe on this still.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:43PM (#32835290)

      350*70=24.5 kW, not 240

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:06AM (#32835470)

        ...16kWh battery pack of the Mitsubishi i-Miev...

        ...charging a 2011 Mistubishi i-Miev from empty to 50% full in just three minutes

        50% of 16kWh is 28800000J. 28800000J divided by 180 seconds (3 minutes) is 160000 J/s, or 160kW.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The article says it's only 62.5KW per charging station.

    • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:01AM (#32835438)
      From TFA (close to the end):

      But for retail locations and gas stations, the 62.5 kW power requirements of each charger should not be impossible to accommodate in all but the remotest of locations.

      In addition, even the remotest location can accommodate it: just install a generator burning gas (I'm kidding but only half-kidding: remote locations in which you can currently refill your tank will have petrol and a generator will consume less per kWh generated than the car's petrol engine...be it only because it doesn't need to change gears/etc).

      • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Thursday July 08, 2010 @01:31AM (#32835900) Journal

        Hmm. Kind of like a Chevy Volt.

        I just did some quick Googling, and 62.5kW worth of dedicated genset is around $13k to $25k for generating equipment alone. So, to pick a number, it might cost a remote service station $80k to install a single generator-backed rapid charge station (including installation, signage, fancy Toyota-approved hardware, profit, etc).

        It wouldn't take a huge amount of regular demand for such a thing to be practical, but I'd think that $80k would still a pretty big chunk of money for such a remote place, which brings up a pretty big catch-22: There won't be demand until facilities exist, and facilities won't exist until there is demand.

    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:01AM (#32835440)
      It will probably rely on some sort of capacitor-based local storage, so it'll always be drawing power from the grid, but at a steady pace awaiting the next charge.
    • Trust me, you won't see fully electric cars replacing gasoline until we develop cold fusion. Just google how many Joules you get in a pound of gasoline versus a pound of anything else. The technology simply does not exist and will not for a long time. The stuff you see now is just small incremental improvements. Oh and you math geeks, figure out how many pounds of coal was burned to charge that battery halfway.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bennomatic (691188)

        Oh and you math geeks, figure out how many pounds of coal was burned to charge that battery halfway.

        How about none? I'm not a huge fan of nuclear power, but guess what runs the grid in much of Japan?

        • Re:Cold fusion (Score:5, Informative)

          by dbIII (701233) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:20AM (#32836322)
          The correct answer is actually hydroelectric power from Hokkaido. There is some nuclear power available though, and with enough warning it can be ramped up to full capacity for quite a while to provide even more.
          It makes perfect sense in the 1970s and may do again - electricity available if there is a naval blockade by China. Expensive, high maintainance, awkward waste problems but ultimately it works in that situation. That's the sort of niche nuclear advocates should be arguing for and improving to turn it from the expensive alternative energy everyone hates into a commercial reality.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rakishi (759894)

        Electric engines are roughly 3-4 times as efficient as gasoline ones. So you get 3-4 times the effective energy density out of batteries.

        More importantly you don't need that much energy, almost all car rides are short and electricity can be recharged at home unlike gasoline.

        Oh and you math geeks, figure out how many pounds of coal was burned to charge that battery halfway.

        Less pollution wise than you'd get from gasoline, someone did look into it. Natural gas is a lot better, and used in quite a few places, but even coal beats out gasoline engines.

        • Re:Cold fusion (Score:5, Interesting)

          by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @01:43AM (#32835958) Journal
          "Electric engines are roughly 3-4 times as efficient as gasoline ones. So you get 3-4 times the effective energy density out of batteries."

          Sure, but who wants to buy a car that only gets 100 miles, then needs to be recharged every 50 miles? This might be a good second or third car, but it's not that practical as your main vehicle, and the fact that an electric vehicle must be charged nightly limits it to only being useful to homes with garages.

          This is why SUVs have been so popular in the US despite their poor gas mileage. You can fit 5 to 7 adults comfortably and still have room for luggage.

          Electric cars will fail, and series hybrids like the Chevy Volt will succeed. [wikipedia.org] When the batteries run low a gas generator keeps the batteries charged enough to power the vehicle. This is brilliant: I get my electric car for my short daily commutes, but I still have gas for those rare times when I need to drive hundreds of miles in a day. I have the best of both worlds with no sacrifices.

          Also series hybrids means we can finally use turbines: gas turbines are the most efficient engine. [wikipedia.org] While a gasoline engine is only 20-30% efficient, [wikipedia.org] a gas turbine is over 80% efficient. [wikipedia.org] In 1999 GM made a EV1 Series hybrid using a turbine generator. The vehicle achieved up to 100mpg while charging the battery [wikipedia.org] using 90s technology and a 220 lbs turbine (modern turbines are much smaller [wikipedia.org])

          In ten years when series hybrids become the norm we'll look at vehicles like the Prius the same way Prius owners look at SUV owners today.
          • Re:Cold fusion (Score:5, Insightful)

            by NormalVisual (565491) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @03:37AM (#32836396)
            a gas turbine is over 80% efficient

            I imagine they're also very efficient at annoying the neighbors with the noise. :-)
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by daffy951 (546697)

            Sure, but who wants to buy a car that only gets 100 miles, then needs to be recharged every 50 miles?

            I do! My work is located ~15miles from my home and I could charge the car (for free!) all day while I'm working. A car which could go ~100 miles would cover almost all my personal transportation needs (not only to and from work), and if I would need to go longer I could rent or borrow another car (or take a bus / cab).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Idiomatick (976696)
            That car might get 100mi on a charge but thats the market in Japan. If you are going further WTF wouldn't you take the train? It wouldn't make sense. The Tesla Model S gets 300mi to a charge; Thats Boston to Philadelphia in one go. Think about how often you make a trip that long... or half that long.

            A better way to put it, Would you be willing to take a 3~5minute break every 3hours of driving? To help the environment? I think that is a fairly minor lifestyle change at this point.

            Another point is that ther
          • by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @06:07AM (#32837078)

            Indeed, hybrids are far more practical, but it seems that you are misrepresenting the promise of microturbines. From the wikipedia article:

            Typical microturbine efficiencies are 25 to 35%. When in a combined heat and power cogeneration system, efficiencies of greater than 80% are commonly achieved.

            In automotive applications, the waste heat goes unused; so the efficiency will be in the 25 to 35% range.

            Another promising option for hybrids is the OPOC engine [ecomotors.com], which is a simple, efficient, and clean 2-stroke engine. It is a very interesting design, with a number of other advantages as well.

            When coupled with a capacitor/flywheel/etc. to allow for regenerative braking and acceleration, the requirements for the power source in a hybrid are actually very minimal. This allows for the creation of an extremely efficient vehicle, and as far as energy density goes, you can't do much better than hydrocarbons.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by bgarcia (33222)

            This might be a good second or third car, but it's not that practical as your main vehicle, and the fact that an electric vehicle must be charged nightly limits it to only being useful to homes with garages.

            Sure... currently. I wouldn't get this as my main vehicle. But an electric is perfect for my commuting vehicle. Especially if I can convince my employer to offer charging in our parking garage.

            Also, you need to think a little more long-term. If electrics start to become popular with the commuter c

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by GaryOlson (737642)
              Your imagination hasn't had to drive long distances with women in the car. You have to stop at least once every 2 hours for them to go pee -- usually more frequently.
          • Re:Cold fusion (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tehcyder (746570) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @08:27AM (#32838046) Journal

            This is why SUVs have been so popular in the US despite their poor gas mileage. You can fit 5 to 7 adults comfortably and still have room for luggage.

            Whereas 90% of journeys have 1 adult and no luggage.

          • by fifedrum (611338)


            Sure, but who wants to buy a car that only gets 100 miles, then needs to be recharged every 50 miles? This might be a good second or third car, but it's not that practical as your main vehicle, and the fact that an electric vehicle must be charged nightly limits it to only being useful to homes with garages.

            Me! I want one. I've never commuted more than 30 miles a day round-trip, and currently I commute 4 miles to work, my wife commutes 6 miles to work, and the vast majority of our trips in a commuter vehicle would be 30 miles. Even the big days would be 50 miles, taking the kids to events, driving myself to teach (I run a fife and drum corps) 1/2 way around our city, or driving to/from our datacenter to play hands/feet is only 32 miles round-trip.

            That said... to avoid owning a dedicated trip-to-grandma's-veh

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cnaumann (466328)

            Electric cars will fail, and series hybrids like the Chevy Volt will succeed. [wikipedia.org] When the batteries run low a gas generator keeps the batteries charged enough to power the vehicle. This is brilliant: I get my electric car for my short daily commutes, but I still have gas for those rare times when I need to drive hundreds of miles in a day. I have the best of both worlds with no sacrifices..

            And all those other times when you are not driving 100 miles in a day you are lugging around a heavy and useless generator. That you paid good money for. And when you are driving more than 100 miles a day, you are lugging around huge battery packs that are doing very little good (outside of some regenerative braking and acceleration boost which are negligible on the Interstate at a constant speed.) It sounds to me like the worst of both worlds. I think I would rather have a small all electric car to get me

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by adolf (21054)

          Electric engines are roughly 3-4 times as efficient as gasoline ones. So you get 3-4 times the effective energy density out of batteries.

          Please explain what you mean. Your premise and conclusion are not related, which makes your statement completely nonsensical.

          More importantly you don't need that much energy, almost all car rides are short and electricity can be recharged at home unlike gasoline.

          And if that were the issue, we wouldn't even be discussing it. I can already get electric cars that are comple

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Here is a link [anl.gov] (PDF warning: 154 pages) to the ANL study. Skip to page 133 of the PDF.

            If you really, really want to go crazy, then head on over to Argonne Nation Labs and check out this [anl.gov].

            Testing has shown that the Tesla roadster is around 250 watt*hours of electricity per mile. The Rav4 EV (which uses a less efficient drive train) is around 300 watt*hours per mile. You can plug this in to the EPA Power Profiler and get CO2 per mile for various areas. But all in all, the real advantage of an electric ca
    • by Animats (122034) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @01:26AM (#32835876) Homepage

      I wonder if it has some sort of means of load smoothing and a limited duty cycle

      Yes, it does. One of the charging stations described itself has a battery, for load smoothing purposes.

      That's a win for stations without heavy power available. But busy stations are going to need a high-current feeder, so that can charge one car after another during busy periods.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:36PM (#32835230)

    I have never owned or even driven one save for a golf cart. My experience with the golf cart leaves me doubt as to whether an electric car can deliver enough torque to climb steep inclines.

    Heck, what happens when you are stuck in snow all the while, the spinning of wheels eating away at your juice? Scary, isn't it?

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:39PM (#32835258) Homepage Journal

      I have never owned or even driven one save for a golf cart. My experience with the golf cart leaves me doubt as to whether an electric car can deliver enough torque to climb steep inclines.

      Have you tried a Tesla? I hear they are fast.

      Heck, what happens when you are stuck in snow all the while, the spinning of wheels eating away at your juice? Scary, isn't it?

      Heck, what happens when you are stuck in snow all the while, the spinning of wheels eating away at your fuel? Scary, isn't it?

      • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:53PM (#32835368)

        Heck, what happens when you are stuck in snow all the while, the spinning of wheels eating away at your fuel? Scary, isn't it?

        When stuck in snow, the need to keep warm and therefore keep the engine running consumes fuel. When you finally run out of gasoline, you can replenish your supply via some container. How the heck do you do that if your primary source of energy if a battery? This is the problem.

        • by Tynin (634655) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:04AM (#32835456)
          That is when you go to the grocery store, buy all their AA batteries, wire them in parallel and hope it is enough to get you to the next volt station.
        • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:19AM (#32835556) Homepage Journal

          Extreme environments pose challenges for vehicles. There are examples you can point to where EVs may not be appropriate. But say I want to camp in the desert. The nearest petrol station is 1000km away. I could use a bank of photocells to charge my vehicle on site.

          And BTW 1000km is quite realistic for remote areas in my country.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Jeremi (14640)

          How the heck do you do that if your primary source of energy if a battery?

          You could plug the car in... or carry around a spare container of electricity (aka a battery), or a generator and some gasoline, I suppose.

    • by ColaMan (37550)

      Heck, what happens when you are stuck in snow all the while, the spinning of wheels eating away at your juice? Scary, isn't it?

      Not really. Spinning of wheels implies low friction and seeing as you're not actually moving anywhere (dammit), power used to spin those wheels is actually pretty minimal compared to normal driving.

    • by JesseL (107722) *

      Proper gearing will give you all the torque you need to get up any incline with even the tiniest motor. The question is how fast you'll be climbing.

      A properly sized motor will provide all the hill climbing performance you could ever want and the limitation becomes range, as limited by battery capacity.

    • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:50PM (#32835356)
      My Tesla Roadster launches off the line faster than any other exotic vehicle I've driven (including a Lamborghini Murcielago and the Ariel Atom). What does that? Torque, and lots of it. Electric motors have full torque from 0 rpms, unlike internal combustion engines that have a limited torque band (and hence, the need for inefficient transmissions).

      And regarding the snow? Yea, electric cars do just fine there:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH_mSJC21f8 [youtube.com]

    • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:54PM (#32835384)

      My experience with the golf cart leaves me doubt as to whether an electric car can deliver enough torque to climb steep inclines.

      Er, what? When dealing with electric motors, you have much more torque than a comparable gas motor.

    • My experience with golf carts is that they're great for inclines. You can park them on a hill and start it right up. It wasn't the fastest thing in the world and when it started losing speed it felt like I might not make it, but the torque just pulled it up and over.

      And greatest thing about electric motors is that you don't need to spin your wheels. You can apply full torque at 0 rpm and pull yourself out of being stuck.

    • even though you weren't being serious, I'd like to add that I've actually seen an electric car made by an individual, so this thing was running on lead acid batteries, that pulled an 8 second quarter-mile.
    • Golf carts, shockingly enough, are not especially heavy-duty vehicles. Amazing what being designed to operate cheaply on gently rolling and well-manicured landscapes will do to you.

      Electric motors, though, can put out some seriously mean torque at low speed. In fact, dealing with the amount of current they draw as they approach stall is one of the important design considerations in using them.
    • by ZorbaTHut (126196)

      Similarly, I had an old half-broken gas-powered ATV that just couldn't reach highway speeds. I don't see why people like this "gas" thing so much, it clearly doesn't have enough oomph to do anything serious.

    • by webweave (94683)

      How about the parts of America where there is precious little snow and hardly any hills? Well if you look around there now all you'll see is Arab fueled gas guzzlers. America has a huge problem from relying on foreign fuel and an even bigger problem caused by shipping so much of its currency out of the country, you remember the economy, scary isn't it? Worst of all is this problem has been know about since the early '70's and little has been done except for making it worse. Now if you live in Vermont or Den

  • Designed to comply with the CHAdeMo standard...the system is capable of charging a 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev from empty to 50% full in just three minutes. Even just three minutes plugged in...enable[d] a standard 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev to travel a further 50 miles before further charging was required."

    Good job being.... very redundant? I supposed you'll want some kind of gold star or something...

    Speaking of education, guess what time it is? That's right, it's Mathdot Time!.

    Usually around this time I whip out my trusty calculator (and before those mod-point-endowed HP-calculator /.-ers down-mod me into oblivion, yes, "RPN FTW!"), but in this case I think we can just use the power of our brains. Just try not to think too hard or you might hurt your brain.

    And...it's a story problem!

    If samzenpus can charge his 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev from empty to 50% full in just three minutes, and if three minutes plugged in...enable[s] his standard 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev to travel a further 50 miles, what is the range of his vehicle?

    100 miles? That's it?

    Okay

  • see subject. Coming soon. (disclaimer: 2010 Dollars).

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:41AM (#32835656)

    Even three minutes is a long time to spend actually at the charger, and as another poster noted that produces a hell of a load on the electrical grid which limits the practicality of deployment for further speed improvements in charging.

      I saw an article a bit ago doing the math about how many cars can move through a electric equivalent of a gas station, and something like 10x more gasoline powered cars are able to fuel up FULLY over the course of an hour. And of course if you are only charging for 50 miles station congestion will only be worse.

    Purely electric cars are simply not a practical thing, and really don't mesh well with how people like to use cars in America.

    That's why I think the alternative fuel of choice will (and should) be Hydrogen. People (consumers and stations and providers) already know how to deal with liquids, it's just an adaptation of existing infrastructure.

    Yes it's bloody hard to store and expensive to produce right now. But imagine how much less so it would be (especially production) if the same amount of money were being poured into R&D around Hydrogen cars as we see being poured into electric and solar power.

    • That's why I think the alternative fuel of choice will (and should) be Hydrogen. People (consumers and stations and providers) already know how to deal with liquids, it's just an adaptation of existing infrastructure.

      Hydrogen is only liquid at temperatures below -250C - I doubt there are many consumers and stations and providers that have any experience with cryo temperature liquids...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NeMon'ess (160583) *

      I saw an article a bit ago doing the math about how many cars can move through a electric equivalent of a gas station, and something like 10x more gasoline powered cars are able to fuel up FULLY over the course of an hour.

      That's why there's an alternative proposition to use replaceable battery packs. Pull the car in to the station and a mechanical device removes the tamper-resistant-and-registered bank of batteries from the car. Then it lifts a charged pack in. This also means the owners don't have to spend

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zebedeu (739988)

      But all of that is mitigated by the fact that you can charge at home.

      For the daily commute with an electric, most people wouldn't even have to stop at a gas (electricity?) station.
      If you imaging only 10% of the people would be using the station to recharge, then the usage would be pretty similar to that of the current gas stations.

      The weekends could be worse, though.

  • by iktos (166530) * on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:51AM (#32835704)

    This source also has some more technical details, like charging current, how much current the charging station will draw from the grid (20kW), that the charging station has twin batteries with different properties, that car makers need to adopt new battery types for it to work:

    http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20100621/183598/ [nikkeibp.co.jp]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2010 @12:58AM (#32835748)

    I, for one, refuse to buy an electric vehicle until it has a range of 1000 miles on a single charge, and can be fully recharged in under 30 seconds. Anything less is completely impractical. I also want 12 cup holders. When they achieve this performance level, I will find another rediculous excuse not to buy one.

    And I will continue to insist on my god given right to mis-spell rediculous.

  • Split the battery bank into two and charge them in 90s.
  • Watch from 1:15 to 1:56, avoid idiot blithering.

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