Living in Europe with a rapid DC charging car can be a pain. 22kW charging stations — that’s charging stations that provide 32A at three-phase — are pretty much all over the place. In fact, there is very little difference in installing a 7kW post and a 22kW post other than wiring up two extra cables – this is assuming the power is there, of course.
Using these charging stations with any car other than the Model S or ZOE results in the car not pulling as much power as is available. They just default to the on-board charger’s limit which is usually 6.6kW or possibly even 3.3kW. This is why the ZOE’s charging system is so great in Europe, it can charge from pretty much any source at the highest power it can supply.
This is why many people around the world have been working on a device that could change the three-phase power from these 22kW posts and convert it into the CHAdeMO or CCS standards for direct current for rapid charging. Charging a car like the Nissan LEAF, Mitsubishi iMiEV or Kia Soul EV at this rate would take about an hour and twenty minutes. Far faster than the four or more hours they are usually limited to when charging from an alternating current charging station.
Designwerk, a hardware and software engineering company, has created ChargeBox that does just this. Coming in three versions, CHAdeMO, CCS and a combined box with both, their ChargeBox will allow cars with lower powered onboard chargers to gain a charging speed boost.
The ChargeBox starts at €15,000 (£12,000 / $20,500) for the single connector version and goes up to €16,500 for the multi-connector version. At this price point it is unlikely to be a consumer product however it is feasible that a company with a fleet of cars may buy one or a charging location that just has multiple 22kW posts could get one to cater to more cars.
The ChargeBox will be being used on this year’s WAVE where we are hoping that Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield — who is there as the official media correspondent — will be able to experience its powers on her own personal LEAF.
What do you think of the ChargeBox? Would you be interested in getting one to use with your electric car? Let us know.
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