International power and automation technology giant, ABB, announced this week, at the EVS26 electric car symposium, that the company was bringing its Terra 51 DC Fast Charging station to the U.S. The Terra 51 is an intelligent DC fast charger that uses the CHADEMO charging protocol, that is the fast charging method used on the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
DC Fast Charging enables compatible cars to be recharged to 80% within 30 minutes, making charging much more convenient and giving more travel flexibility to owners of electric cars. By comparison level 2 charging with electric cars takes anywhere between 3 to 8 hours for a full charge depending on the charge rate of the on-board charger. Level 2 charging supplies an AC current to the vehicle, at either 3.3 or 6.6 kilowatts depending on the electric car, and requires a normal 240 volt power connection. The Terra 51 Fast Charge station handles charge rates up to 50 kilowatts, and requires a 480 volt three phase AC power connection.
The Terra 51 initially went on sale in Europe in 2010, as the first commercially available DC Fast Charge station in Europe. According to ABB the Terra 51 is already established as the leading DC Fast Charger in terms of install base, reliability and functionality. Last fall ABB was selected to build the first CHADEMO fast charge network to cover an entire country, with over 200 stations covering all of Estonia. The network encompasses every major road in Estonia, which will have a DC Fast Charge station every 50 kilometers, and additionally over 500 level 2 chargers will be installed at Estonia government offices.
A suite of API's allows Terra 51 charging stations to interface with 3rd party billing services, fleet management systems, smart grids or demand-response applications, via the Power Routing network. Additionally, the Galaxy online management tool allows a charging network operator to access status information, remotely configure the charging station, collect data and more.
“Our Terra 51 fast charger has proven to be a rock solid solution in Europe and we are now certifying this web-connected charger for the US market to serve the fast growing base of CHAdeMO cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i. The ability to quickly recharge enables drivers to use their electric vehicle throughout the day without experiencing the typical range anxiety; fast charging will initiate further adoption of electric mobility,” said Hans Streng, Senior Vice President and General Manager of ABB’s Product Group EV Charging Infrastructure.
The Terra 51 comes with cloud-computing services connectivity, security, and applications that enable charging network operators to manage the devices. The back-end network provides software upgrades, remote maintenance, servicing and monitoring as well as enabling grid operators to ensure power quality on the grid with analysis and control functions.
In March, ABB signed an agreement with ECOtality allowing ABB to use the Blink Network platform. While the consumer side of the Blink Network is a membership club for electric car owners to access charging stations, the Blink Network is also a software platform allowing a charging station network operator to integrate with utilities and other third parties to facilitate data exchange, utility services, energy management, media communications, and membership and payment programs. ABB has also invested nearly $20 million in ECOtality.
Like the Schneider-Electric DC Fast Charge Station, ABB has a plan for incorporating support of the upcoming SAE DC Fast Charging standard. “To be successful, we believe the US electric vehicle charging infrastructure needs to be open to any kind of electric car. Our connectivity solutions are designed to support all existing and future connection standards in the same network. The first Combo cars will be available at the end of 2013 and we’re ready to support that,” Streng said.
At the EVS26 conference the consortium behind the SAE standard had an area to demonstrate the technology, which included charging stations from several makers. ABB's was the only charging station on display which actually worked, the others were mockups.