Continental turns EV powertrain into universal charging adapter

May 30, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automotive supplier Continental AG has devised a new charging approach for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids: Instead of load up charging equipment for all the different types of charging stations into the car, the new approach turns the electric drive train itself into a charger.

A complete charging system - the so-called "AllCharge" system - is composed of the components of the powertrain (electric motor and inverter). This is possible and obvious because even in normal operation, the task of these components is converting back and forth between AC and DC of different voltage levels. Continental utilizes these properties to cover the requirements of different charging techniques the vehicle is confronted with.

 

This does not only enable the driver to drive up to any charging station currently in operation and "fill up" his battery with up to 800 V and up to 350 kW charging power; he also has 230 V AC in the vehicle if required. With its Vehicle-2-Device technology, the AllCharge system can supply electrical power (to operate, for example, laptop, refrigerator or drill) from the vehicle battery.

"Today the driver of an electric car often stands in front of the wrong charging column and cannot load as quickly as he wants," says Oliver Maiwald, Head of Technology & Innovation Division Powertrain at Continental. With the AllCharge drive, the vehicle is ready for everything from single-phase to three-phase AC charging to fast DC charging. The biggest advantage of the system becomes apparent at urban AC charging stations, where the AllCharge system allows up to 12 times faster charging than today.

 

Currently, charging a vehicle battery is not as practical as it would be desirable in everyday life: either the charging station offers only slow, single-phase AC charging, or the charging station may offer fast DC charging - but the vehicle is not necessarily equipped with the corresponding technology. The expansion of the infrastructure is faced with a dilemma: the low-cost and therefore the most widespread one-phase and three-phase AC charging stations are associated with rather slow charging. High-performance DC charging stations, in contrast, are still very rare because the technology is so expensive and many electric cars cannot yet be charged


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