EV industry seen shifting to 800 volt technology


But with most existing charging stations based on 400-volt systems, is there still an advantage for cars with 800-volt architectures?

Experts say yes, though vehicles will need an 800-volt-based charging infrastructure to take full advantage.

“Much of the existing DC fast charging infrastructure is for 400-volt vehicles,” said BorgWarner’s Husted. “To allow the faster charging that 800 volt enables, the latest generation of high-voltage, high-power DC fast chargers will be needed.”

That’s not an issue for home charging, but the highest-speed public charging networks so far are limited. Reich believes it will be a particular issue for highway charging stations.

“The refill has to be as quick as fueling up at a gas station,” he said. “This is the use case” for 800-volt charging.

Europe is seeing the rise of such networks.

Ionity is a multi-automaker partnership with a number of 800-volt, 350-kilowatt highway charging points.

“A 350-kW charger translates into five to seven minutes charging time for 100 km,” said Otmar Scharrer, senior vice president electrified powertrain technology at ZF. That’s about the same time as a coffee break, he pointed out.

“This is really a game-changer,” he said. “This is something that will drive acceptance of e-mobility.”

According to a recent report from Porsche, it takes about 80 minutes to add 250 miles of range at a typical 50-kW, 400-volt station. That time drops to 40 minutes at 100 kW. If the charging plugs are cooled — adding cost, weight and complexity — that time can fall to 30 minutes, Porsche said.

“A shift to a higher voltage is therefore inevitable in the quest to achieve charging times in the desired corridor,” the report said. It would fall to about 15 minutes with 800-volt charging, the automaker said.

Taking into account the time to pay, “the goal of ‘charging like filling up’ is thus nearly within reach.”

Audi says the A6 Avant E-tron concept, based on the same PPE architecture as the Taycan, can take in enough energy in just 10 minutes at a fast-charging station to drive about 186 miles.

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