Novel (New) Universal Charger supports 120-900V EV Batteries

Novel (New) Universal Charger supports 120-900V EV Batteries

Electric vehicle battery technology is fast progressing, which is beneficial for both enhancing EVs and combating climate change. However, the rapid growth of technology has made it difficult to construct infrastructure capable of supporting the whole spectrum of batteries currently accessible, in addition to any future improvements.

In a recent development, researchers developed a unique battery charger that is capable of supporting current & future generations of EV battery packs with voltages ranging from 120 to 900 volts.

Research published of an IEEE journal on power electronics describes the new technology.

Electric vehicle battery technology

Variable power ratings

  • Nissan Leaf S,
  • Tesla Model X, and
  • Mercedes-Benz EQA,

have battery pack voltages ranging from 250V to 450V.

However, next-generation EVs such as the

  • Rapide E,
  • Lucid Air,
  • Porsche Taycan,
  • Hyundai Ioniq, and
  • KIA EV6

will have battery packs with voltages ranging from 600V to 800V.

An occurrence like this provides an infrastructure difficulty when it comes with establishing future-proof charging systems around the world.

The next-generation batteries will have quicker charging time while also weighing less, allowing EVs to drive sooner and travel longer on a single charge.

However, the charging of such high-voltage batteries utilizing existing chargers results in a reduction in efficiency due to the reason that these chargers operate at twice the voltage that is rated for devices.

Deepak Ronanki, an assistant professor, IIT,Madras and an IEEE senior member who was involved in the work.

Ronanki and doctorate researcher Harish Karneddi has developed a universal charger that can support voltages ranging from 120 to 900 V.

According to IEEE Spectrum, the new technology provides a novel reconfigurable battery charger to charge current and future EV battery packs, as opposed to previous methods that employ several passive & active components for reconfiguration.

Boost–Buck Converter Configuration

Boost–Buck Converter Configuration

The battery charger is technically a two-stage charger. In order to do power factor correction (PFC), the system utilizes the capabilities of a front-end boost-buck circuit. The battery charger then makes use of a reconfigurable DC-DC converter. Because of this, the system is able to increase the voltage if the battery voltage is greater than the input voltage & decrease the voltage whenever the battery voltage is less than the input voltage.

Ronanki & Karneddi established through a number of calculations and experiments that their newly developed charger is capable of charging batteries at any voltage between 120 & 900 volts without causing damage. Despite the fact that the charger demonstrated a minor decrease in efficiency at lower voltage working points (ranging from 48 to 120 V), it still functions the efficiency of traditional chargers at all of the voltages that were tested. The charger regularly operated at a level of efficiency that was higher than 94%.

Battery charger

The researchers have submitted a patent application for their innovation, and they intend to collaborate with industry partners in order to bring their charger to commercialization. Additionally, the researchers are thinking about upgrading their charger so that it is compatible with a wider variety of vehicles and also presently striving to increase the charger’s effectiveness in this voltage operational range so that it can be utilized for small cars, e-bikes, and bicycles.

An Overview

Due to differences in the battery pack voltages of current and next-generation electric cars (EVs), the existing battery chargers are inappropriate with these vehicles.

In contrast to previous systems, which employ numerous passive and active components for reconfiguration, this correspondence provides a revolutionary reconfigurable battery charger to charge the current & next-generation battery packs for electric vehicles with the same power rating using only one relay and a filter capacitor branch.

Additionally, because of the boost-buck configuration, the suggested configuration avoids the need for a sizable grid-side filter. Additionally, a mode switching-based control technique is suggested to run the charger over a very wide voltage range with the option of charging batteries with intermediate voltages.

The 1.3-kW silicon carbide MOSFET-based laboratory prototype’s experimental studies and MATLAB simulations demonstrate the viability of the suggested reconfigurable charger for charging

  • Low-voltage EV battery banks,
  • Medium-voltage EV battery banks, and
  • High-voltage EV battery banks.
EV batteries

How does the charger’s design ensure the safe charging of EV batteries at a wide range of voltages?

Electric vehicle (EV) chargers have been established with a number of characteristics ensuring secure charging of EV batteries over a wide range of voltages. Due to the high energy capacity of EV batteries & the inherent risks involved with charging; safety is of the utmost importance. Here is how charger engineering accomplishes secure charging at various voltage levels:

1). Power electronics and voltage regulation

  • Transformers,
  • Rectifiers, and
  • DC-DC converters

are examples of power electronics that are used in EV chargers to control the voltage and current given to the battery. These parts transform the grid’s incoming AC electricity into the proper DC voltage for battery. Regardless of changes in the input voltage, voltage regulation makes sure the battery obtains the proper charging voltage.

2). Voltage Sensing & Feedback Loops

Chargers have voltage sensors integrated in to track the battery voltage continuously. The charging controller changes the charging procedure based on feedback from these sensors in order to keep the voltage within acceptable limits. To avoid overcharging, the charger can slow down or turn off if the voltage rises above a set threshold.

3). Current Limiting and Control

EV chargers use current limiting systems to prevent overheating & overloading of battery cells. The charging controller maintains track of the current entering the battery and modifies it as necessary to prevent overly high currents from damaging the battery or causing thermal runaway.

Temperature Monitoring and Control: To keep monitor of cell temperatures, temperature sensors are frequently built inside battery packs. Depending on these temperature readings, the charger can modify the charging rate. Extreme heat might make charging uncertain, so the charger may reduce the rate of charging in these circumstances.

4). Communication Protocols

Many contemporary EVs and chargers are compatible with PLC (Power Line Communication) and CAN (Controller Area Network) protocols. These protocols enable communication between the charger and the car’s battery management system. Battery capacity, charge level, and other pertinent parameters can be exchanged between the charger & the car, allowing the charger to adjust the charging procedure to the particular requirements of the battery.

Isolation and Grounding: In order to reduce the risk of electric shock, chargers are properly isolated and grounded. Galvanic isolation methods and isolation transformers are employed to guarantee the user’s safety from any electrical failures.

5). Safety Standards & Certifications

To ensure that its design, construction, & operation fulfill severe safety requirements, EV chargers must abide by safety standards like IEC 61851 and UL 2231. These standards cover things like correct labeling, insulation, and overcurrent and overvoltage protection.

6). Emergency Shut-Off

Chargers frequently have buttons or other emergency-stopping features that let users instantly halt charging in the event of safety concerns.

7). Dynamic Power Adjustment

Depending on the accessible grid capacity & the charging requirements of many vehicles, certain EV chargers are constructed with the ability to dynamically modify the power output. This ensures consistent charging and reduces grid overload.

Chargers are often made to work with a variety of input voltages, enabling them to be utilized in different nations with differing power grid standards.

Overall, EV chargers are certain to provide safe and dependable charging across a wide range of voltages & conditions due to a combine of modern electronics, sensors, communication protocols, safety regulations, and intensive testing.

How does the charger compare to other chargers on the market?

  • Level 1,
  • Level 2, and
  • Level 3

are the three different levels of charging for electric vehicles.

Every level of charging has its own unique characteristics. On the other end, as a general principle, the higher the Level, the higher the output power from the charger, and the faster it can charge.

What are the EV charger’s efficiency and charging speeds?

Chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) are typically intended to have an efficiency of at least 90%, and frequently closer to 95% or higher.

The rate at which electric vehicle chargers work might vary greatly.

  • Level 1 chargers, which operate at 120 volts and are designed for use in the home, are among the most gradual and typically add between 2 and 5 miles of range every hour.
  • Level 2 chargers use 240 volts and are far faster than level 1 chargers, providing between 10 to 60 miles of range/hour. Even more quickly.
  • DC fast chargers can deliver a large amount of range in a relatively short amount of time.

What are the advantages (or) benefits of using a universal charger?

  • One form of charger that is compatible with a wide range of electrical devices is referred to as a universal charger.
  • The task of charging many devices simultaneously, each of which has unique charging requirements, is made easier by this.
  • It has been equipped with a number of charging ports, allowing it to simultaneously charge a wide variety of electronic devices.

What is the size of the global EV market and how is it expected to grow?

In 2022, the total value of the global market for electric vehicles was estimated to be USD 384.65 billion.

The market is expected to expand from a value of USD 500.48 billion in year 2023 to a value of USD 1,579.10 billion by 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.8% during the period 2023 to 2030.

What is the demand for universal chargers? or why is universal charger important?

It makes the process of charging several devices, each of which has unique charging requirements, easier. It is equipped with a number of charging ports, allowing it to simultaneously charge a wide variety of electronic devices.

What are the challenges to commercializing the universal charger?

Universal charger commercialization faced these challenges

1). Infrastructure & Compatibility

Many devices use different charging interfaces and technologies. Manufacturers would have to phase out their connectors to use a universal charger, which could cause problems of compatibility with older devices & accessories.

2). Patents and IP

Manufacturers often patent charging technologies. Cross-licensing agreements or intellectual property addresses may be needed to create a uniform standard, which can take time.

3). Regulatory Issues

Different regions may have different electronics and charger regulations. Harmonizing these standards for a universal charger could be difficult.

4). Consumer Knowledge

Changing the standard would entail educating consumers and teaching them how to utilize the new universal chargers.

5). Fast Technology Changes

Technology changes swiftly. By the point that a universal charger standard is adopted, new charging technologies may make it outdated or less desirable.

6). Environmental Concerns

As older chargers become outdated, universal chargers may temporarily increase electronic waste. Manufacturers will require to reduce environmental impact.

7). Customization and Innovation

Manufacturers may lose the ability to distinguish their products with unique charging solutions if a universal charger standard is adopted.

8). Global Consensus & Collaboration

Reaching acceptance on a universal charging standard across manufacturers, regulatory bodies, & technology organizations may take time.

9). Industry Competition & Interests

Manufacturers may have spent heavily in their charging technologies. Changing to a universal charger might impact their competitiveness and profit margins, which could cause pushback from some companies.

How will the universal charger impact the future of EV charging?

Universal electric vehicle (EV) chargers, but not widely used standard. It can provide a few perspectives into how a universal charger may affect EV charging in the future based on current developments and considerations:

  • Interoperability: EV users might simplify charging with a universal charger. Manufacturers employ different charging standards and connectors, which can be confusing and difficult. Any EV may charge at any type of charging station using a universal charger, removing the need for various adapters or compatibility issues.
  • Extension of Charging Infrastructure: If universal charging were generally supported, charging infrastructure could grow faster. Charging point operators would be confident that their stations would accommodate more EVs, promoting charging network investment.
  • Reduced Complex Manufacturing: Regional and technology variances require EV manufacturers to develop and manufacture separate charging methods and interfaces. A universal charger could simplify and lower costs for automakers & charging equipment manufacturers.
  • Consumer Comfort: EV users wouldn’t have to be concerned about obtaining a compatible charger while traveling or utilizing different providers with a universal charger. User-friendly charging could drive increased EV adoption.
  • Competition and Innovation: A universal charger may encourage charging technology & equipment innovation. Instead of building proprietary connectors, companies may improve charging speed, efficiency, & user experience with a standardized connector.
  • Regulation Support: Governments and regulators may promote universal chargers to promote electric transportation. Supports might include subsidies for charging point operators to embrace the standard or regulations for new installations to follow the universal standard.
  • Environmental Impact: By helping more people switch to EVs, a universal charger might reduce carbon emissions. The smooth charging experience could increase electric vehicle adoption and reduce fossil fuel use.
  • Transition and Challenges: Implementing a global charging standard may need industry cooperation, infrastructure, & compatibility with the older EV models. To smoothly move from current regulations to the universal one, careful preparation and transition techniques are needed.