Vehicles powered by electricity are becoming more prevalent. As per Jato Dynamics, a British consulting firm, around 750,000 of them were purchased in first quarter of the year 2021 alone. According to Jato, electric vehicles currently account for little more than 4 percent of new vehicle sales, up from 2 percent in the very same quarter last year. Despite this, many prospective purchasers still have “range anxiety,” which is the fear of having to stop a long travel in order to recharge an electric vehicle’s battery. The great news is that the amount of time necessary to do this task is about to be significantly reduced.
The majority of electric vehicles operate at 400v (400 volts). However, several manufacturers and their component providers are preparing to offer 800v drive systems in the near future. In addition, because higher voltages can deliver the same level of power having less current, the electric cables can easily be made smaller and lighter—the weight savings that result from this helping to extend the range of a vehicle’s range, according to Christoph Gillen, who serves as the technology director in charge of the GKN Automotive, which is a British components group, that recently revealed that it is speeding up its advancement of 800v drive systems. Because most cabling is made of copper, the cost of which has been rising, this should save money for automakers.
What drivers are most probably to notice, though, is that cars with 800v drive units will make better use of some of the most recent fast chargers, according to Dr Gillen. For example, Ionity, a German business supported by several automobile manufacturers, is constructing a network of about 350kw fast chargers throughout the continent. These automatically optimize charging speed to the greatest amount that a vehicle can be able to handle at any given time. An electric vehicle with an 800v structure will recharge approximately twice as fast as a similar car with a 400v system if one of these is used.
Fast chargers are also much more efficient than slower chargers. Electricity from the grid, which operates on alternating current, is used by all chargers (ac). When an electric vehicle is plugged into a normal charging point, the systems convert alternating current (ac) into a direct current (dc), which a battery requires to store electricity in its batteries. Fast chargers skip the vehicle’s converter in favor of their own beefier pieces of equipment that deliver a direct current charge directly to the battery.
The Porsche Taycan, which is a luxury sports saloon, was the first electric vehicle to use an 800-volt motor system. This was introduced in the year 2019. Porsche claims that by using a fast charger, the Taycan’s massive 93 kwh battery can be recharged in less than five minutes, providing enough power to propel the car 100 kilometres.
The first 800v vehicles from two South Korean manufacturers, Hyundai and its partner Kia went on sale earlier this year. According to the company, Kia claims that the 77kwh battery in the ev6 that went on the market on August 2nd could be recharged from ten percent to eighty percent in 18 minutes. (Most electric vehicles charge their batteries at a slower rate during the last 20% of their capacity to prevent harm to the battery.) Due to the nature of conventional chargers, a complete recharge is often completed overnight.) Other companies are developing 800v automobiles as well. They include Volvo, BYD, General Motors, and Stellantis (a big stakeholder in which, for the sake of full disclosure, also has stock in The Economist’s parent company), among other companies.