ComEd, in partnership with North Carolina State University’s FREEDM Systems Center, has received a $200,000 federal research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help fund a $5 million research project focused on improving the efficiency of, and reducing the cost of, extreme fast charging (XFC) for electric vehicles (EV).
“The growth of electric vehicles has the potential to reduce harmful emissions and improve air quality for everyone, regardless of if they drive or ride in an electric vehicle, but the time it takes to fully charge an electric vehicle can be a deterrent to consumers,” says Michelle Blaise, SVP of technical services at ComEd. “ComEd’s engineers are industry-leading innovators, and we’re honored to contribute our expertise and resources to find new technical solutions that will convince more consumers to switch to an EV.”
XFC will allow EV owners to charge their vehicles at a much faster rate than a Level 1 or Level 2 EV charger. Level 1 chargers, which rely on standard 120V outlets and alternating current, are the slowest available charging method, taking approximately 50 hours to charge a standard 70kWh EV battery. Level 2 chargers utilize 240V outlets and require approximately 7.5 hours to fully charge a standard 70kWh battery.
The XFC charger this project seeks to develop and demonstrate will be an ultra-low cost, all-silicon carbide modular power converter for direct current charging equipment which can connect directly to a medium voltage distribution system. With power capabilities of 300 kWh, these chargers target reducing the time to fully charge a standard 70 kWh EV battery to as little as 15 minutes.
“The goal of this new project is to bring extreme fast charging much closer to market realization and support the continued adoption of electric vehicles by reducing consumers’ charge anxiety,” states Srdjan Lukic, Ph.D., NC State professor, deputy director of FREEDM and principal investigator for the project. “We could not achieve that without collaboration from project partners like ComEd.”
The project will be broken into two phases focused on cost analysis, and system development and demonstration, respectively. After the charging systems have been developed, ComEd’s Grid Integration and Technology (GrIT) Lab in Maywood, Ill., will serve as the initial testing location for this new technology – providing an independent validation of the XFC system performance. ComEd will also support phase two of the project by identifying ideal locations on the distribution grid to demonstrate this technology, unlocking the potential for wider deployment.
The full $5 million XFC EV development and demonstration project is funded through collaborator cost shares including $200,000 from ComEd. Additional collaborators on this project include Danfoss, GoTriangle, New York Power Authority and North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center.