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Published on December 26th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley

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Ultra-Fast Chargers Come To California

December 26th, 2018 by  


How many cars sold in America today can take full advantage of all the power available from a 350 kW ultra fast charger? If you said “none,” go to the head of the class. But that doesn’t mean such vehicles won’t be on the road soon. The highly anticipated Porsche Taycan — which used to be known as the Mission E before the marketing department got involved — will be arriving shortly. [Editor’s note: I understand there must be corporate reasons for it, but “Mission E” seems like such a better name to me. Irritates me every time we have to point out the Taycan is the Mission E.]

Earlier this month, a prototype of that car was recharged at an experimental 450 kW charger in Germany. Porsche is part of the Volkswagen empire, so what Porsche knows, Audi knows, and so does Volkswagen itself. The new Audi e-tron electric SUV will be able to take advantage of ultra-fast chargers and there’s a chance the new line of electric vehicles from Volkswagen’s ID division will be able to as well, perhaps as part of an extra-cost premium package option. If the Germans are moving in that direction, there’s a pretty good chance Tesla is too.

At the San Francisco Premium Outlets — which are actually in Livermore, an hour’s drive east of the city — electric car drivers will now find 2 ultra-fast 350 kW chargers and 8 super-fast chargers (150 kW). They have been installed by Electrify America as part of the agreement it signed with the state of California to settle claims arising from its diesel cheating scandal. That destination also features a Tesla Supercharger location with 20 super-charging stations.

Electrify America plans to add ultra-fast chargers at 17 other shopping destinations operated by Simon Premium Outlets in California. It says its program “will enable millions of Americans to discover the benefits of electric driving and support the build out of a nationwide network of workplace, community and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable.”

EVgo Ultra-Fast Charger

Meanwhile, halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, EVgo has opened its first ultra-fast charging station in Baker, California. The 350 kW equipment can provide a properly equipped electric car with up to 240 miles of driving range in just 30 minutes. The two cities are less than 300 miles apart.

In addition to one 350 kW charger, the new location has two 50 kW chargers (“fast chargers”) along with a 150 kW unit and a 175 kW station. All are equipped with both CHAdeMO and CCS Combo plugs. What really sets the location apart, though, is that is has a 20 kW solar canopy that supplies electricity to 88 kWh of second-life BMW i3 batteries. The canopy not only gathers energy from sunlight — it also protects drivers and passengers from the sun’s rays in a place where the average daytime temperature is almost 85°F (29°C).

The chicken and egg conundrum that affects electric cars continues. Will more EVs with the ability to use ultra-fast chargers beget more such chargers or will more ultra-fast chargers convince manufacturers to build more cars that can take advantage of them? Either way, it’s all good news for electric car drivers. 
 
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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.



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