Electric vehicles [EV] have one main thing for and against them, their battery packs. The high-tech battery pack installed in an EV determines its range and its charging time, generally, the bigger the battery, the longer the range, and the longer the charging time. Another factor affecting charging time is the on-board charger.
The 3.3kW charger on the first-generation Nissan Leaf took up to ten hours to fully charge. The second generation charger was 6.6kW, which cut that time in half. One of the issues with a higher-capacity fast charger is its size. Tesla’s 90kW Supercharger is about the size of a refrigerator and can charge Tesla’s massive 85kWh battery pack in less than an hour, but it doesn’t make for convenient in-car installation.
Volvo just announced a 22kW on-board fast charger that they will be testing in the C30 Electric. It is the first three-phase 400V charger available that can be installed in a vehicle. On a single-phase 230V line, the C30 Electric takes up to 10 hours to charge, but on a three-phase 400V line, the 22kW charger draws up to 32A to fully charge the battery pack in about 90 minutes. This is a significant improvement without the need to spend more on installation of a fast charger.
Volvo’s vice president of electric propulsion systems, Lennart Stegland, said the fast charger “unit helps cure what is known as ‘range anxiety’ since the car can be more easily recharged during the day. And even if you don’t have enough time for a 1.5-hour charge, plugging in for just 30 minutes will give you enough power for another [49 miles] of driving.”