Aerovironment is a technology R&D organization focusing on what’s now called green technology. They have long history in developing electric vehicles and related technology, including the original prototype vehicle (the Impact) which led to GM’s EV1. Today they announced development of a high speed high power electric vehicle charging system that can funnel nearly a megawatt of power.
For some use cases charging time is a very important attribute issue to solve. To take an example the Nissan LEAF announced the other day (Technical specifications for the Nissan LEAF) has three defined charging periods. Off normal household current charging time is well over 20 hours (for a full charge), off a 220 volt circuit the charging time is 8 hours (for a full charge), and on a special high power circuit the charging time is as little as 30 minutes. If you absolutely must have rapid recharge it’s going to require a lot of power.
The AV-800 developed by Aerovironment can deliver up to 800 volts at up to 999 amps. This is a lot of power. To put it into perspective the typical household circuit delivers 120 volts at 10-20 amps. The recharge time of an EV battery pack is based on several factors including the size (in kilowatt-hours) of the pack, the rate the pack can be safely charged, and the power (in kilowatts) available to charge the pack. For example the Nissan LEAF mentioned earlier has a 26 kilowatt-hour pack, and charging on a typical household circuit (1 kilowatt rate) would take 26 hours, whereas at an 800 kilowatt rate would take 2 minutes (if the pack can handle 800 kilowatts).
The project is in cooperation with the U.S. Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, MI in their Ground System Power and Energy Laboratory (GSPEL). The facility will provide scientists and researchers with the ability to integrate hybrid-electric (HE) and fuel cell technologies into advanced military vehicles.
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