The Belgian VUB University (Brussels) is developing a charging technology “to make electric driving more pleasant and efficient”.
Researchers at EPOWERS, a research group that works at the VUB MOBI research center, have developed a technology that significantly extends the range of electric vehicles (up to 1 000 km) with a limited number of recharges. They also worked on charging infrastructure, aiming at charging sessions that take no longer than 10 minutes.
“The range is in line with smart mobility and the transport of tomorrow, and with the vision of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) tailored to the needs of future customers who want to travel long distances with electric vehicles,” says EPOWERS team leader and VUB professor Omar Hegazy.
Efficient infrastructure is crucial
“An efficient infrastructure for fast charging, with smart management, plays a crucial role in fulfilling the needs of drivers of electric vehicles, as it enables an autonomy of 1 000 km with no more than two recharges. Our research group is conducting pioneering research on this topic.”
For these developments, EPOWERS worked closely with several major players in the automobile industry. “We work on advanced designs and developments in the field of power electronics and drivetrains,” says Hegazy. “We also developed smart green energy solutions with intelligent control systems for the mobility and freight transport of tomorrow.”
The research group developed new charging infrastructure concepts that have capacities of 350 kW or more by working with advanced and emerging technologies based on wide bandgap materials, such as SiC (Silicon Carbide) and GaN (Gallium Nitride).
The charging technology works on 800 volts, allowing to recharge the battery of an electric vehicle faster. The batteries are also charged with a higher efficiency of up to 98%, which is an improvement of around 4% compared to conventional infrastructure. On a large scale, this can result in considerable energy savings each year.
Apart from that, EPOWERS also developed a smart charging management tool, which can considerably reduce the costs and the stress on the electricity grid during the charging process.”
Important for the transport sector
The EPOWERS technology can be applied to vehicle fleets and the charging network on a wide scale in the near future, which will make traveling by an electric car easier, more pleasant, and potentially cheaper.
It also represents an important step forward for the transport sector, where an increasing number of truck manufacturers are adopting electric drivetrains.
“Until now, the transport sector itself mostly had a wait-and-see attitude because of the uncertainty in the logistics chain, the potential time loss at charging points, and too frequent stops on international routes,” the press release states. The research group is persuaded that their technology could encourage the sector to embrace electric mobility.