Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT) are working on a universal charger that can juice up 120- to 900-volt batteries, according to IEEE Spectrum. If the concept takes off, the charger could simplify the power-up process for the 77 million EVs forecast by Statista to be on the road by 2025.
“However, charging these high-voltage batteries with existing chargers degrades the efficiency, due to operating at twice the rated voltage,” Deepak Ronanki, an assistant professor at IIT who is working on the project, said.
Higher voltage generally results in more range. The U.S. Transportation Department reported that a 120-volt EV could take hours to charge, typically at home, and only generating a handful of miles per hour of charge. A direct current, fast-charging connection (400 to 1,000 volts) can provide up to 240 miles on less than an hour’s charge, typically at a public station, per the department.
Though new innovations seemingly emerge daily, some are promising more than 150 miles with only minutes of charge time.
“The charger could be used as a portable unit — essentially like an emergency kit — in case of a vehicle breakdown or deep discharge of the battery pack,” Ronanki said.
Next, the experts need to finalize patents and forge partnerships with other EV industry businesses to reach the tech mainstream. They also plan to perfect the device for lower-voltage contraptions, including electric bikes, scooters, and small cars.
“We are currently working on improving the charger efficiency in this voltage operating region,” Ronanki said.
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