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POWER ELECTRONICS


autonomous bus supplied by Volvo is in service at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Heavy vehicle chargers deliver 300kW DC power while passengers mount and dismount. These type of charging masts can


Ionity’s first UK charger in Maidstone, Kent. Gretna Green and Milton Keynes are next


parks, drivers expect to stay from one to threehours and 20-25kW DC charging power is acceptable. The next level up is 50kW for 20- 90 minute stays for sites such as supermarkets, restaurants and truck stops on the motorway. And the very highest power sites deliver charge in under 20 minutes for drivers at motorway service stations and convenience stops in city centres and the suburbs. We are already seeing the deployment of DC charging infrastructure on highways. For example, Electrify America is deploying hundreds of high-power charging stations around 17 metropolitan areas in the US, as well as up to 120 miles apart along national highway corridors to overcome the range anxiety of car buyers. In the UK, the Ionity consortium of OEM car manufacturers is doing the same – its first site in Maidstone, Kent went live at the end of May. Others, such as Fastned, have already opened their first UK site.


WHAT ABOUT LARGE VEHICLES? We’re also seeing deployment of high- power chargers for bus and truck fleets. In many ways, local bus services are the most suitable form of transport for EVs. They have predictable routes and operators can optimise routes and bus specifications with a relatively small battery that requires charging little and often – therefore freeing up space for passengers. The technique of opportunity charging can provide these small and regular


top-up charges throughout the day. As a result, buses do not have to return to the depot for recharging – meaning that 24- hour bus services are possible. With opportunity charging, buses


receive high power charge from an overhead pantograph that descends from a mast at the roadside. When a bus arrives at the stop, its WiFi connects to the charging point and triggers the pantograph to engage. Charging only takes a few minutes then the bus is ready to go back round its route. Opportunity charging stations are based on exactly the same technology as DC charging points for cars, with the only difference being the automated overhead connector. There are already many examples around the world. A fully electric and


serve whole fleets of buses, such as in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, where a new fleet of 30 fully electric buses is set to enter service in October 2019, with power from opportunity charging stations at three stops along their route. In the UK, the market town of Harrogate is already operating three pantograph units in its bus depot to support buses running over long hours on eight routes. Birmingham Airport is due to start installing the same equipment to serve all-electric Volvo shuttle buses to transport passengers and staff to car parks. However, trucks are also getting in on


the act in anticipation of new ultra-low emission zones in major cities. Truck manufacturers are developing electric versions of their trucks and vans to meet demand from operators who want to avoid punitive fees for driving diesel powered vehicles in city centres.


WHAT IS INSIDE A DC CHARGER? The AC/DC power converter is the main electrical component and typically comes in a modular format. These build up to deliver the desired rating. However, the best approach to


creating an EV charging point is to start with a really good processor and fast data connectivity – the ‘brains’ – and


An airfreight enclosure is used to house the charger package for this race series www.engineerlive.com 31


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