The infrastructure needed to deliver 'fuel' to your electric car or bike, is already present.
Every home and workplace has an electric socket. All we need to do is to plug-it in and rock!
In India we use 230 Volts, alternating current as the power source. Plugs and sockets have either grounded /earthed 3 Pin connections or ungrounded 2 pin connections. For Higher current, there is a 15 Amp version of the same 3 Pin plug.
The charging system basically pumps electricity into the batteries as quickly as the batteries will allow.
By using a 230-volt circuit, an EV might be able to receive 230 volts at 15 amps, which is equal to 3450 watts of power. In theory, this kind of power can charge an electric car having a 10kWh Lithium-Ion battery in around 3-4 hours and an e-bike having a 1kWh Lithium-Ion battery in around an hour.
If you want to add more juice in a shorter amount of time, the main option is a DC fast charger, sometimes called Level 3, drawing 480 volts or more, which could charge the Mahindra e2o electric car from 0 to 80 percent of its charge in about 20 minutes. The plugs include pins for data, letting the charger communicate with the car. This communication channel lets the car tell the charger how much electricity it wants at any given time during the charging cycle, helping preserve battery life.
Also the need to convert AC current into DC is not a requirement during quick charging. DC current is directly fed into the battery which ensures a more optimal charge process.
Well, no home can provide a 480-volt source that can support current of 125 amps. So these DC quick charging stations will have to be installed either by the government or by the auto companies in association with the government.
In America, Europe and Japan, there are three competing quick-charging standards
- SAE Combo Coupler
- Tesla Superchargers
The SAE Combo Coupler is used by eight U.S. and European automakers, the combo coupler incorporates AC Level 2 and DC quick-charging on one bulky charger.
Its all right there in one port, so if DC is unavailable you can use AC and you don't have to worry about connectivity. Currently Chevrolet Spark electric uses the SAE combo charger.
Tesla owners get lots of adaptors with their Model S, so they can charge on CHAdeMO and their own Supercharger network.
The Supercharger station is a high-current, high-amperage source that plugs into the Tesla Model S standard charging port. A Supercharger station can fill up the battery of the Model S entirely in an hour.
Well, we have only one electric car in the market and apparently the Mahindra e2o does support DC fast charging.
As far as e-bikes are concerned, the current generation of e-bikes don't support quick charging. But the future generation of e-bikes could use quick charging.
So why do we need to start building DC quick charging infrastructure?
As Mahindra is the first mover in selling electric cars, i hope they really read this and start working on this.
This could be important for Mahindra, due to the following reasons:
- Strategically placed quick chargers will enable, existing customers of the Mahindra e2o to occasionally travel more than 100 kms and thus solve the problem of long distance driving.
This would change the e2o from a commuter car into a regional car.
- A decent quick charging network will act as a sales pitch for potential customers who are worried about the ‘limited’ range of the e2o.
- A quick charging network developed around important cities can also help in selling future EV’s launched by Mahindra like the Verito Electric Sedan and the Reva NXG.
For example, there is huge traffic on the Mumbai-Pune expressway between Mumbai and Pune. And lots of people drive to Mahabaleshwar on weekends.
So just by adding 2 quick charging stations - 1 at Lonavala and 1 just outside of Pune. This increases the range of an electric car to around 300 km.
This would be an excellent sales pitch for people who don't want to spend around Rs 6-7 Lakhs for just a commuter car.
Although Mahindra is adding lots of charging stations within cities, we feel most of these charging stations would remain underused as most people would charge their EV's at home.
Mahindra should instead work on quick charging infrastructure and look for ideal locations around various cities and install these DC quick charging stations to rapidly increase the sales of their electric car(s).
Either Mahindra could do this themselves or work with the government or tie-up with other automakers who plan to launch EV's in India. For example, BMW and Nissan are looking to launch their electric cars sometime next year. Mahindra could work with them. If Hero Electric (e-bike seller) plans to come up with a Lithium-Ion based power bike that supports quick charging, they could work with the car companies too.
DC quick charging facility is a must to remove the tag of a commuter vehicle for electric cars and bikes.
This would surely be a game changer and would attract huge numbers of people towards EV's.
Is the government listening and would they help?
Will the automakers come together, like never before to make this change?
One thing is for sure, if we see any action in the near future, we would watch the electric revolution unfold right before our very own eyes!