VW offers first look at future mobile quick charger for EVs
Despite the ever-increasing battery life of our mobile phones, many of us carry around a portable power bank just in case. In a similar vein, VW is developing a mobile quick charge station for electric vehicles, which can juice up as many as 15 EVs before its cells need charging.
VW says that the mobile charging station could find use in public parking lots, company bays or as a temporary installation as large events like concerts or exhibitions. And the first units could roll out as soon as the first half of next year as part of a pilot project in the company's home town of Wolfsburg in Germany. If the pilot proves a success, the charging station will be installed in other cities and communities from 2020.
"The mobile charging stations are a decisive step toward an efficient network of charging points," said VW's Thomas Schmall. "They can be set up anywhere as required – with or without connection to the power supply. This flexibility enables a completely new approach for the rapid expansion of the charging infrastructure. Cities can, for example, find out the most suitable places for a permanent charging point before making major investments in developing the network. In addition, it will be possible to set up a large number of charging stations temporarily – exactly when and where they are needed."
The unit will make use of battery cells originating from electric vehicles, where they have been swapped out for fresh ones after charging capacity has fallen below a certain level. If such batteries are still deemed suitable after "thorough analysis," they can be given a second life in VW's 360 kWh mobile charging station.
When a charging station's own batteries fall below 20 percent capacity, the whole unit can be swapped out for another mobile charging station and the original recharged off-site. Though, if the unit is connected to an AC power supply all of the time courtesy of a permanent 30 kW grid connection, the batteries will continually replenish themselves.
"Our mobile charging stations offer a further crucial advantage," added the company's Mark Möller. "It is only when an electric car is charged with sustainably generated power that it can claim CO2-neutral mobility. Our charging station is the first to offer the possibility of temporarily storing sustainably generated power."
Up to four electric vehicles can plug in to the mobile charging station at the same time, including electric bikes – there will be two DC connections and two AC – and 100 kW DC quick charging is supported, which will top up an electric car in as little as 17 minutes. VW suggests that the location of installed mobile units could be made available to customers via a mobile app.