ABB developing DC system for electric vehicle chargers

ABB is engaged in a collaborative research project with North Carolina State University to develop the underlying power systems required to support rapid charging of electric vehicles.

“Having delivered the highest power (350 kW) public fast charger in the world earlier this year, ABB is now exploring the next frontier of high power fast charging,” explains Frank Muehlon, Managing Director for electric vehicle charging infrastructure at ABB. “To reach the point where charging time is comparable to today’s fueling process, we need to explore new power distribution concepts that are flexible and scalable but also simple and efficient.”

The solution lies in a direct current (DC) system architecture, which meets these challenges and also improves overall system efficiency thanks to requiring fewer power conversion stages compared to today’s fast chargers. The result will be a power distribution system that can support the proliferation of high-power EV charging stations.

The project is funded by the Vehicle Technology Office (VTO) of the U.S. Department of Energy and follows related work ABB and NCSU have done on EV charging technology.

In the three-year project, which started in Oct 2018, ABB will work closely with NCSU on developing and demonstrating novel ideas such as high power density rectifiers, battery storage and DC/DC converters for fast EV charging.

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