Chargers are popping up all over the country. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, as of the end of 2021, there were 46,498 places in the United States where you could find a charger to plug in your EV. Adding to that, Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is now setting $5 billion aside to invest in half-a-million more chargers, the focus being on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations.
Here’s what’s cool though: As chargers become more plentiful and commonplace, manufacturers are not necessarily sticking with the status quo; they’re evolving the technology. And, today, we’ve got three charging innovations that are changing the way we think about what it means to recharge an EV.
First, we have Wave, a subsidiary of Ideanomics and a developer of high-power inductive charging solutions for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The company is participating in a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) electrified powertrain project to develop a 1-megawatt wireless charging system for Class 8 electric trucks.
Working with Kenworth, the project calls for Wave systems at each end of a 400-mile regional haul route between Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA. Each charging station will enable specially equipped Kenworth T680 battery EVs to exceed the standard 150-mile range, and aims to charge the T680 batteries in 30 minutes or less. By comparison, a 250kW charger would take over 1.5 hours to accomplish the same tasks, the company says.
As an added bonus, this system is fully automated and hands-free. One of the biggest benefits of the whole project should it be successful? Wireless in-route charging allows for greater route lengths with smaller batteries while also maintaining battery life – all key factors in electric trucking.
Second, we have a company called Xeal, and this innovation doesn’t really center around the charger itself, but around the infrastructure charging station managers use to manage those stations.
Xeal is using its offline protocal called Apollo to create a decentralized, encrypted P2P network on a user’s smartphone. The decentralized protocol leverages smartphones with time-bound cryptographic tokens and distributed ledgers to maintain all of the smart functions of a charging station, like user authentication, access control, digital payment, and over-the-air updates, without any internet connection or dependence on a central server.
Basically, all this means Xeal can deliver customized dashboards for managers to view revenue and energy costs, set rates and control access without an internet connection or dependence on a central server, eliminating inhibitors to getting work done for these folks.
Finally… what if there were virtually no limits as to where you could install a charging station? That’s the thought behind Amply Power’s Inrush, a containerized infrastructure system for EV charging.
The containerized charging capsule allows customers to utilize semi-permanent, portable charging to account for unpredictable changes in operations. The electrical switchgear needed for charging is located inside of an upcycled shipping container, which is pre-built offsite.
Amply says design, procurement and installation costs for the container solution are expected to be roughly 50% less expensive than traditional infrastructure. The setup process takes about six months from start to finish, 50% less time than with traditional infrastructure, the company adds.