Purdue and Ford working on cooled 2.400 amps charging cable
The charging cable risking to overheat when too much electricity is pushed through it is the limiting factor why charging an electric car takes so long today. Ford says its researchers are working with the US Purdue University on new patent-pending technology for a charging cable that uses liquid phase change cooling to handle 2 400 amps.
That’s more than four times more than today, as Tesla’s Superchargers currently deliver 520 amperes. By quadrupling the current going through the cable recharging times as short as filling up a gas tank in less than five minutes. That is, if both the car and the charging infrastructure can handle it.
Changing into vapor
Today’s fast chargers already use liquids to cool the charging cable but succeed only to a certain extent to remove the heat generated. Professor Issam Mudawar and his students at Purdue University say they worked with Ford on a cable cooled with liquid coolant as a start but changing phase to vapor during the process.
That allows evacuating far more heat. And it will enable the use of thinner cabling inside. The liquid phase change cooling technique results from 37 years of research at the University to cool electronics. Now it’s demonstrated in the lab, but not yet on an actual electric vehicle.
1 400 amps required
Professor Mudawar hopes to test the actual charging process with carmakers and charging cable manufacturers within the next two years. To effectively charge an EV with a large battery in under five minutes, Mudawar foresees a minimum of 1 400 amperes needed.
At Tesla’s Supercharger 480-volt direct current fast-charging, that would mean 672 kW, compared to 250 kW now and Tesla’s upgraded chargers up to 350 kW.
To compare, in August, Chinese electric carmaker GAC Motors showed its newest electric crossover, the Aion V, was plugged in a 600 kW charger. It was charged using GAC’s 6C fast charging technology from 0 to 80% in just 8 minutes and 30% to 80% in 5 minutes.
The lab results from Purdue University go far beyond. But the battery and charger in the vehicle, depending on its voltage capacity, and the charging infrastructure and grid will have to cope with these high currents, too, before it becomes a reality.