One of the challenges of owning an electric car is the wait time you have to endure for a vehicle to recharge if you run out of power in the batteries during your day, or if you are looking to just “top off” while you run into the grocery store to get some items. Volvo seems to think it has an answer to that time issue, unveiling a new fast charger it claims cuts recharging time to just 1.5 hours. That’s still a bit to have to wait, but it is claimed to be up to six times faster than other on-board devices, so one could say that’s an improvement at least.
Volvo plans to test the new on-board chargers in a number of its C30 Electric cars over in Europe. This 22 kW fast-charger is the world’s first charger that operates on a three-phase supply and is small enough to be fitted in an electric car. The company noted it offers two possibilities to car owners with this charger, based upon European power standards. These include using a three-phase outlet with 32A that gives an 80 km range in 30 minutes, with a full charge taking 1.5 hours. Also, plugging into an ordinary single-phase 230 V household outlet gives a charging time of 8-10 hours, depending on the available current.
The automaker offered no specifics as to when this on-board charger might actually become available to the public or what it might cost. The C30 Electric itself is being tested in limited numbers in Europe to gauge public interest. As Motor Authority reports though, “the fact that the C30 is being discontinued doesn’t bode well for the eventual launch of the C30 Electric, though it’s likely the technology behind the prototype will eventually transfer to other models.”
Volvo also isn’t the only one playing with its fast chargers. Tesla Motors, for example, recently unveiled its Supercharger Network, which are essentially stations placed alongside highways where Model S drivers can pick up 150 miles of driving range in 30 minutes.