Through a research alliance between Ford and Purdue University, researchers from both groups are working to develop a new, patent-pending charging station cable that could combine with in-development vehicle charging technology to lower the average time to recharge EVs, the company announced.
“Today, chargers are limited in how quickly they can charge an EV’s battery due to the danger of overheating. Charging faster requires more current to travel through the charging cable,” said Michael Degner, senior technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “The higher the current, the greater the amount of heat that has to be removed to keep the cable operational.”
Purdue researchers are focusing on an alternative cooling method by designing a charging cable that can deliver an increased current. The cable uses liquid as an active cooling agent, which can help extract more heat from the cable by changing phase from liquid to vapor – the key difference between this and current liquid-cooled technology on the market.
This innovation could eventually deliver more power than today’s leading systems to re-charge electric vehicles, the company said, making the potential of faster re-charging times possible if vehicle charging and other technology enhancements are made in parallel. Ultimately, this could eventually lead to re-charging EVs as quickly as conventional gas station fill-ups.
“Electric vehicle charging time can vary widely, from 20 minutes at a station to hours on an at-home charging station, and that can be a source of anxiety for people who are considering buying an electric vehicle,” said Issam Mudawar, Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family professor of mechanical engineering, Purdue University. “My lab has come up with a solution for situations where the amounts of heat that are produced are beyond the capabilities of today’s technologies.”
Mudawar says his lab intends to begin testing a prototype charging cable in the next two years to determine more specific charge speeds for certain models of electric vehicles.