This week at the EVS26 symposium in Los Angeles, Schneider Electric announced U.S. availability of the EVlink DC Quick Charger for electric cars. The vending-machine sized unit supports the CHADEMO DC Fast Charging charging protocol used by electric cars manufactured by Nissan and Mitsubishi. The station is designed to allow easy upgrade to the new DC Fast Charging protocol being designed by the SAE J1772 committee, which may "future-proof" the fast charging networks being built today.
DC Fast Charging solutions are best suited to public parking, shopping malls, gas stations and rest stops, fleet applications, car sharing programs and rental companies. In each of these cases a fast recharge is preferable to one requiring several hours to complete. It is the CHADEMO charging port on the Nissan Leaf which enables the "recharge to 80% in 30 minutes" mode. Research in Japan, which has had a CHADEMO fast charging network since 2008, has shown that the presence of fast charging stations results in increased electric car usage. “We know more DC quick chargers will improve ‘effective range’ of electric vehicles helping to solve range limitations and encourage wider spread adoption,” said Mike Calise, Director, Electric Vehicles, Power Business, Schneider Electric. “With easy access to fast and reliable chargers, people will be more comfortable buying and driving EVs.”
CHADEMO is in a competition against a different DC Fast Charging standard being developed by the SAE. The SAE standard will require a couple more years before it shows up in electric cars, and in the meantime there is a rapid rollout of CHADEMO charging stations such as the recent settlement in California under which NRG/eVgo will build a large network of CHADEMO DC Fast Charging stations. That settlement includes provisions requiring NRG to upgrade the fast charge network to support both CHADEMO and SAE DC Fast Charging.
Schneider designed the new EVlink DC Quick Charger to be upgradeable to the SAE DC Fast Charge system, once the standard is finalized and released. The new standard is expected to be finalized late this summer, but it is unknown how long it will take for the new charging port to begin to appear in electric cars. Schneider's choice to design in the ability to upgrade is wise, because it protects the purchasers investment in an expensive charging station by making upgrades much cheaper than a "rip out and replace" operation.
The EVlink DC Quick Charger supports authentication of users with RFID or credit card readers. It meets UL ratings to ensure safety, and allowing it to be installed in the U.S. It uses cellular based communications (GPRS) for services enabling optimum management and maintenance.
The company also sells a range of charging station products supporting level 2 charging at 30 amp charge rates
“By adding DC quick chargers to our portfolio, we’re now offering customers one of the widest product ranges in the industry backed by Schneider Electric’s leadership position in comprehensive energy management solutions,“ said Mike Calise, Director, Electric Vehicles, Power Business, Schneider Electric. “We are committed to offering EV charging solutions to help our customers manage their energy more efficiently while keeping safety and usability top of mind."
The company calls itself "a global specialist in energy management" and is a giant in the area of electricity distribution equipment, with operations in more than 100 companies.