Volkswagen is joining forces with Shell to offer new charging stations delivering “modest” power of up to 150 kW. Their particularity? They are connected to a low voltage network and batteries, so they can be installed almost anywhere.
In addition to the price, autonomy is still a barrier to the purchase of an electric car for many motorists. The latter are afraid of not being able to find a terminal and would be ready to change their minds if the vehicles could travel greater distances without needing to be plugged in. Which is bad reasoning.
A practical solution
Because at present, charging your electric car is getting easier and easier. In France alone, more than 100,000 terminals are currently available to motorists, while many new players are arriving on the territory.
But it is true that most sockets currently display powers under the 22 kW bar and only 7% are above 150 kW. It is from this threshold that we can speak of fast charging, with a recharge time of around 30 minutes.
Indeed, to install stations delivering high power, it is necessary to be able to to pass from the high voltage network, which requires costly and time-consuming civil engineering operations. This explains why only a few operators are able to post very high figures, such as the 360 kW from Lidl and Kallista Energy. But a new solution might make things easier in the future.
This one comes to us directly from Germany and is designed by the Volkswagen Group. Or more particularly its subsidiary Elli, dedicated to charging. The latter has just announced in a press release a new partnership with oil giant Shell to develop a charging solution that could make life much easier for electric car owners and make charging more accessible.
This one is called Flexpole and its operation is rather simple. These terminals are connected to a low voltage network, but are still able to deliver upower up to 150 kW. How is it possible ? Quite simply by also equipping itself with a battery electricity storage system. A solution that has many advantages.
A simpler installation
Indeed, these terminals can be installed anywhere and do not require heavy construction work or transformer, which considerably reduces the time required for their installation. An important issue, on which Tesla is also working, which is developing its “prefabricated” Superchargers requiring only one week of installation.
For the moment, only one Flexpole terminal has been installed, in the city of Göttingen in Germany, but there is no doubt that this solution should quickly be deployed throughout Europe. According to Volkswagen, this terminal would make it possible to recover up to 160 kilometers in about ten minutes depending on the size of the battery and the maximum power it can handle.
But if this technology is very promising, it is actually not entirely new. Indeed, Shell has already set up a similar solution in the Netherlands, in partnership with Alfen. The journalists ofClean Automotive recall that the Chinese company XCharge also offers technology of this type, with terminals capable of delivering up to 420 kW in direct current. Enough to beat the 400 kW of Fastned and Circontrol.
This energy storage solution is also beneficial to the electrical network, since the terminals will be less dependent on the latter. In the event of strong tensions, it will be possible touse the energy stored by the battery during off-peak hours, for example. This will also make it possible to display a more affordable price for customers, which will fluctuate less depending on the demand for electricity.
Want to join a community of enthusiasts? Our Discord welcomes you, it’s a place of mutual aid and passion around tech.