FUD stands for "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" and is a communication tactic used to influence people towards having a negative perception of something, generally through deliberate misinformation or inciting fear. The term has been in use since the 1920s and has also been used to mean "fear, uncertainty, and disinformation". FUD can also refer to a general mindset of pessimism about a particular asset or market, as well as the manipulation of investor or consumer emotions so that they succumb to FUD.
This psychological war for the hearts and minds of folks will always go on in any industry depending on the money and power to be gained.
EVs or Electrical Vehicles are at the start of their life cycle to the population of this planet. You can agree or disagree with climate change, the data about if we will ever run out of fossil fuels, etc. Here I am only hoping to inform you that there is change coming and that change can be of a positive nature for those that choose to embrace EVs / BEVs.
Let's start off with some basic knowledge about EV's that is missing in much of the press lately, that is about the charging nature of EVs in general. Some auto companies realize they need to support a customer first world class experience and others feel they are being forced into building these autos while they believe another way is better. Either way, the goal here is to inform you the potential EV customer.
TERMS - Here are some of the most common basic terms:
Short for ampere, this is a unit of electricity that refers to the steady current produced by one volt applied across a resistance of one ohm.
An essential EV component, this is an electric storage unit in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power. Federal regulations require automakers to cover EV batteries under warranty for at least eight years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first). See also Lithium-Ion Battery.
The process of replenishing an electric vehicle’s battery with electricity; this can either be accomplished at home via a standard wall outlet or a 220-volt line, or via a public or workplace-based charging station.
DC FAST CHARGING
See Level 3 Charging.
Short for “electric vehicle,” it refers to any mode of transportation that uses one or more electric motors powered a rechargeable battery for propulsion. It’s alternatively called BEV, for “battery electric vehicle.”
This is a measurement of an engine or motor’s maximum power output; an electric motor’s output can also be expressed in terms of kilowatts (kW).
Short for “internal combustion engine,” this acronym describes any vehicle that runs on fossil fuels.
A measurement of electrical power, usually abbreviated as “kW.” When used to express an electric motor’s maximum output, this is roughly equivalent to 1.34 horsepower.
Short for "kilowatts per hour," this is a measurement of electricity that’s equivalent to the amount of energy expended in one hour by one kilowatt of power. An EV’s battery capacity is expressed in terms of kWh. The Environmental Protection Agency uses the number of kilowatts per hour needed to run a vehicle for 100 miles (shortened to “kWh/100 mi”) to express an EV’s energy consumption.
LEVEL 1 CHARGING
The slowest way to charge an electric vehicle, Level 1 charging uses a standard 110-volt wall outlet. Depending on the model it may take between 8-24 hours to fully replenish a drained battery.
LEVEL 2 CHARGING
Level 2 charging, accomplished via a dedicated 240-volt electric circuit like those used for large electric appliances, roughly slashes charging time in half over Level 1 charging. You can have a Level 2 unit installed by a professional electrician at home, and it’s the type of charging used most often in public and workplace charging stations.
LEVEL 3 CHARGING
This is the quickest way to replenish an EV’s battery, though it’s limited to what is still a relative handful of public charging stations. Also called DC Fast Charging, it’s able to bring a depleted battery up to an 80% charge in around a half hour. If you’re taking an extended road with an EV, you’ll want to plan the route around the availability of Level 3 pubic charging stations.
This is a type of high-energy rechargeable battery, used in EVs and other products like laptop computers, that leverages lithium ions as a key component of its electrochemistry.
This is a miles-per-gallon equivalent measurement the Environmental Protection Agency created to help consumers compare an electric car’s energy consumption with those that run on fossil fuel. MPGe is calculated based on a conversion factor of 33.705 kilowatt-hours of electricity equaling one gallon of gasoline.
The number of miles an EV can travel before the battery becomes fully depleted.
A system used in EVs (and hybrid-powered cars) that recovers energy otherwise lost during deceleration and braking and sends it back to the battery pack to help maintain a charge. Some EVs, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Nissan Leaf, can maximize the regenerative braking effect to slow down – and even bring the vehicle to a stop – without using the brakes. This is commonly called “one pedal” driving.
Also called a “range-extended electric vehicle,” this refers to an EV with a small gasoline engine that kicks in to run a generator that, in turn, operates the motor once the battery becomes depleted. At that point the vehicle’s operating range is limited only by the amount of gas in the tank. This effectively eliminates worry over being stranded at the side of the road with a dead battery, which is often called “range anxiety.” The BMW i3 is available as both a pure EV and a REX.
STATE OF CHARGE
Also known by the acronym SOC, it refers to the meter on an EV’s instrument panel that displays the current battery level as a percentage.
Torque is officially defined as the twisting force that causes rotation. It’s the force you feel when you’re pressed into your seat as a vehicle accelerates aggressively. Electric motors deliver 100% of their available torque instantaneously, which enables fast launches and strong passing abilities. Having a higher torque rating otherwise makes an engine or motor with limited horsepower feel quicker.
This abbreviation stands for “zero emissions vehicle,” which means it produces no tailpipe emissions. All pure electric vehicles are of the ZEV variety.
Here let's take an important look at the EVs themselves and what the critical part is for charging. The auto industry has set the following specification for EVs. 400V and 800V systems are the two electrical spec systems that are being used and while some say there is no reason to do 800V yet, compared to 400V due to the nature of Charging available at home and public, let's look at what the real difference is between them.
Doubling of the Voltage in an Electric auto means that the time to charge up the EV battery is effectively cut in half. This also means that cabling and components can be thinner, smaller and gives us a more efficient auto that is also lighter. End result is 400V gives you a longer charging time compared to 800V that is on par with ICE autos for fueling up at a charging location, get your drinks, snacks, etc. and get back on the road. This means charging up in minutes compared to hours.
Understanding Volts and currents is important as the reason 800 volts gives us faster charging is that the battery receives more power from the charger. In a 400 volt system, there is double the amount of energy loss because the current is high. Current creates resistance losses in the conductor (energy loss) so it is inefficient, especially at rapid charging speeds.
Think of it this way, a higher voltage pushes through more power not by increasing the power draw, but by reducing resistance in the wire. Resistance has an energy penalty, so it makes absolute sense to use 800 volts in electric auto's.
The 400V architecture is cheaper than an 800V system to design, components are more readily available, 400V and lower has been used in a variety of hybrids allowing companies that are looking to reduce costs to go the cheap route. Drawbacks are the 400V systems create more heat, are slower in many faucets of their use/implementation. This includes the slower charging with reduced power retention over the life of the battery. The biggest reason of using a 400V system is it's backwards compatibility to electric motors and batteries in Hybrid such as the Toyota Prius and that it was already compatible with the existing electrical infrastructure.
Tesla went the 400V route due to building their own charging network allowing them to optimize their Charging system for optimal charging times.
The benefits of the 800V system over a 400V system is the 50% reduction in charging times. This doubling of the voltage lowers the current required for charging, resulting in reduced heat generation and better power retention that contributes to longer driving range and higher performance with smaller battery pack size.
800 volts unlocks faster charging due to the heat generated by DC fast chargers which can overheat batteries, especially those with 400V architecture, which is why charging speeds drop of quickly upon hitting 80% charge. The 800 volt architecture solves this problem by changing the way the cells are connected inside the battery, allowing a lower current but a higher voltage to be used. 800V batteries have the cells connected in series., thus improving thermal efficiency, stopping the battery cells from overheating at higher charging speeds.
So it would be understandable to ask the question, if 800 volts is so great why is it not everywhere or was built from the start into EVs? This is due to the primary fact of electrical parts from chips to controllers, motors, etc. not having been engineered yet compared to the hybrid world where 400 volts was the standard. As more and more technology companies engineer components to support 800V EVs this will change and is expected to change with the roll out of 2025 model EVs.
800V will not affect how fast an EV will charge at home due to electrical supply limitations.
This can be either Level 1 @ 120V or Level 2 @ 220V AC chargers. But a bigger thing to focus on is the Amps that either a level 1 or 2 charger uses as this affects just how fast the charger can flow power into your battery pack and then of course is the other important part which is the controller built into the EV.
Level 1 chargers tend to top out at 12 amps and add about 1.4kW of power to an EV which usually can equal about 3 to 5 miles per hour. The slowest and why EVs get bad raps in the media is due to the focus on 110/120 volts charging.
An example of a Level 1 charger @ 12 amps being used on a Ford Mach-e with an 88kWh battery pack is 63 hours from empty to 80% charge. So a couple of days plus.
Level 2 chargers tend to come in a much higher range of amperage. One such company that offers Level 2 home chargers is enelXway that has 32, 40 and 48 amp chargers. Most 3rd party Level 2 chargers are around 40 amps on average with an average power recharge rate of around 7.7 kW of power.
Using the same Ford Mach-e you are then down to an 11 1/2 hour charge time from zero to 80%, way better than 63 hours.
A critical item to consider is when you buy an EV is what Charging Controller options do you have?
An example of this is on the Chevrolet Bolt/Bolt EUV which has a controller that can handle up to 11.5kW of recharge on level 2 @ 48 amps allowing for a much faster charging than stated for the Mach-e above @ 7.7kW. Ford Mach-e onboard charging controller tops out at 10.5kW with no upgrade option depending on which of the level 2 charging options you pick for home installation.
Then we have Cadillac that by default has the 11.5kW charging controller but can be upgraded to a 19.2kW charging controller allowing for much faster home charging. The difference is as follows: 11.5kW controller adds 31 miles of range per hour to the EV where the 19.2kW charging controller adds 51 miles of range per hour to the EV.
Ford offers three home charging options with the top level 2 home charger being a 48 Amp 240 V charger. GM Ultium home chargers
Many third party Level 2 home chargers top out at 48/50 amps. As with all technology, it is changing day by day and as of 2023 we now have a few of the newest level 2 chargers that require a 100 amp 208-240V dedicated circuit. Most owners will tend to go with chargers up to 40 amps with charging at 9.6kW on average due to the cost of the dedicated circuit and wire gauge needed. A 48 amp charger can charge faster on average of 11.5kW but requires heavy gauge wire that must be hardwired to the NEC code, therefore costing more than a 40 amp unit.
As with everything, depending on what you want to pay, will directly reflect on speed and your quality of performance.
This is where we go from AC to DC, DC chargers which are known as Level 3 chargers come in a variety of designs that cover from 400V to 800V. Depending on the design of the onboard DC controller and software for managing your battery pack can add as much as 200 miles of range within 15 minutes.
DC chargers are not compatible with home installation due to the wiring demands needed, the six figures cost and the fact that home building code just does not allow that kind of high power brought into a residential home.
More and more companies are building charging stations all over from shopping malls, grocery stores, strip malls, city streets, etc. Unlike gas stations, that require so much more to allow fueling of an ICE auto, EVs are far more easily recharged just about anywhere.
Recharging is found on the West Coast super highway from Vancouver BC to Baja California in rest stops not requiring people to get off the I5 freeway system to recharge. West Coast Green Highway: West Coast Electric Highway
We have the investment from the U.S. federal government on building out charging stations or what is called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Electric Vehicles | Federal Highway Administration (dot.gov) Nevi is the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program that will cover the next five years of building out charging stations coast to coast in the U.S.A.
We also have plenty of private companies building out charging stations networks with one being Enel X Way that has announced the start of their North American DC public charging network that will cover 10,000 DC public charging stations across North America by 2030.
The Enel X Way DC chargers are four port chargers that can sustain constant 150 kW charging to each EV and is NEVI compliant. Enel X Way as with many other companies had applied and been approved to be part of the $1.2 Trillion five year electrical charging program and then they have expanded to include both Canada and Mexico in building out their North America Charging infrastructure.
Here at Cheers and Gears we have covered many various announcements on new battery technology, especially on solid-state batteries which have shown that they can with the 800V charging technology reduce full battery pack recharging to less than 10 minutes for 200 miles, less than 20 minutes for 400 miles which is on par with fuel tank filling for todays fossil fuel auto's. Check out these stories on the News page of this website to read more on battery tech.
Luckily, we have a wide assortment of public charging maps to help you find various levels of charging stations that you can use various search engines to find. There are also these resources to check out:
- Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC)
- Electrify America
- Google Maps – Simply search for EV chargers
- Open Charge Map
- Tesla Supercharger Map
- Tesla App
Current as of 4/15/2023 EV auto voltage design.
Tesla - Mixed bag based on model:
- Tesla 3 & X - 350V
- Tesla S - 375V
- Tesla Y - 400V
- GM - Bolt/Bolt EUV
- GM Ultium
- Li Auto
Proprietary 924V system is used by Lucid that has proven to be the fastest charging EV in the industry truly allowing the EVs to take advantage of the full 350 kWh DC fast charging systems currently out there.
Many auto companies are planning to bring to market EVs around 2025 to 2026 and even the Supercar makers while having been mum have mentioned that they will probably move to the 800V system when they do start making EVs.
With this stated about 400V, 800V and a proprietary 900V system, the SiC traction inverters, WBG semiconductors, etc. are all in a race to provide the world with better and better chips for the EV industry and as such, many such chip companies are already testing out 1200V parts to reduce the charging speed and power handling that can improve everything from charging time to efficiency of an overall EV.
End result is we are in the newest revolution of transportation. Just as with the start of the 1900's and limited gas stations to support internal combustion engines, we are now moving into the next revolution of transportation with electric vehicles and change is the only constant you can count on.
Just make sure you pick the right EV for your needs as any EV will do fine today for local trips, work commuting, but road trips could be a bit more challenging if you do not plan for longer charging times based on the EV you choose to buy.
An example of this is a good story at Road Tripping in New Toyota Electric SUV Showed the Brutality of Bad EVs (businessinsider.com)
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