EV charging station provider EVgo has started work on a new rapid charger that runs at 350 kilowatts. That’s seven times the 50 kW power output of current CHAdeMo and CCS/Combo fast chargers.
The station is being built in Baker, California at the World’s Tallest Thermometer. The site would allow electric cars with a range of 200 miles or more to comfortably make the trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas with just a short stop to refill with electricity - and caffeine, probably.
EVgo strategy and development head Terry O’Day said: “EVgo is laser focused on the needs of our customers, and they want faster charging at more locations. The World’s Tallest Thermometer High-Power station is an important step for the EV industry, as this new standard will open the EV market to even wider audiences. When this station opens to the public next year, EV drivers will enjoy a new level freedom.”
But there is a problem with the 350 kW charger. Not a single electric car currently on sale, or even on the horizon, can really cope with that much that power, not least because to the enormous heat it generates. Plug in something like an early Nissan Leaf, and its batteries would simply melt. Pretty quickly. More recent cars would be better able to handle it, but their batteries could well be damaged by it all the same.
Right now, Tesla’s Superchargers deliver the most power of any consumer-level fast charger, up to 135 kW - the hardware is rated at 120 kW. Moves are afoot to bring in an industry standard of 150 kW fast charging, but even that is still two-and-a-third times less than the power of EVgo’s 350 kW charger.
It is unlikely automakers would go to the expense of designing electric cars capable of handling greater charge than the industry standard, whatever it ends up being. But if there is a market for faster charging at 350 kW, some may well offer optional adapters.
These are interesting times, when questions are being asked that don't necessarily have one answer. EVgo has offered its opinion - will anyone agree?