Tyre and Technology company Continental have announced plans to launch new ‘Continental AllCharge’ technology that would allow future electric vehicles to use any cable-based charging station.
At the moment, owners of plug-in electric vehicles are limited to only using certain car charging stations when they need to recharge their vehicle – this is due to the differing ways in which electric vehicles accept current and subsequently charge their battery.
Whilst all electric cars require the conversion of alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) when charging their battery, the location where the conversion occurs differs depending on the vehicle; some vehicles perform this conversion onboard whereas others rely on the charging station itself to complete the conversion.
Continental’s AllCharge technology, however, would combat this problem by allowing any vehicle to use any charging station thanks to an ability to accept both AC and DC chargers.
Continental engineers have accomplished this by creating two different current flows to the car’s battery - AC current flows from the charging station, through the electric motor and then into the inverter where it is converted to DC current and supplied to the battery, whereas DC current flows directly through the inverter and into the battery.
Continental say that they plan to supply the technology directly to manufacturers for implementation in their vehicles. Once utilised, the vehicle would be capable of accepting any electric charging station and would be able to operate at a rate of up to 800V and a power from 150kW or up to 350kW for special applications. With the latter enabled, a vehicle would be capable of gaining almost 150km worth of charge in just five minutes.
As well as the ability to charge the vehicle at any charging station, Continental AllCharge also supplies 230 volts of AC power that can be used to power onboard devices. Interestingly, this technology allows the capacity for ‘vehicle-to-device’ (V2D) power that sees the car’s electric battery utilised to power mobile electrical devices such as laptops, electric drills or even refrigerators.
Originally announced in September 2017 at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, the technology is being unveiled proper at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas; production is planned to begin in 2022.