At the University of Western Australia, theres a petrol station of the future. Kind of. Its just one bowser, but its a fast charger for an electric vehicle.
It can charge a compatible electric vehicle in less than 30 minutes up to 80 per cent of its capacity a substantial improvement of AC charging, which can take up to 10 hours.
Fast chargers do already exist, but the UWA one offers dual outlets for the Japanese and American standards - a commercial first in Australia.
Perhaps more importantly, this charger is also a research tool for the University of Western Australia, which is championing the use of electric vehicles.
I think this is really the milestone forward in electric vehicle infrastructure, said Thomas Braunl from the University of Western Australia.
What weve seen before is people home charging and that takes about ten hours, which is convenient at home, but not during the day.
The fast car charger uses direct current electricity to charge the cars, bypassing the need for it to be converted in the vehicle.
But the university wants to know how this could affect the car's batteries.
There may be consequences if people keep charging using fast chargers all the time, that the individual battery cells get out of balance, said Professor Braunl.
Thats one of the questions that were investigating at the moment, but evidence seems to show that if people do a mix of the fast charge and the slow charging that batteries still stay balanced so we're quite confident this can be used on a daily basis.
Electric car owner Joseph Law said the fast charger would change the way he used his electric BMW.
Its called opportunity charging, he said. So therefore, its like your iPhone. When you go to somewhere you just plug your iPhone in, but you don't necessarily need to get a full charge on your iPhone."
But to get it back to 100 per cent then you would need to wait like two hours, but generally just plug your car in wherever you have a charging spot.
Fellow electric car owner Richard Baird said fast chargers bring electric cars closer to being like a petrol car.
Fast chargers will actually make a big difference, the auto electrician said.
Whereas this car normally takes about six hours to charge at home from flat, the fast chargers can charge to 80 per cent in about 20 minutes.
You can actually do more running during the day and take advantage of the fast chargers to give you a top up.
Six years ago, the University of Western Australia converted two petrol cars including a Lotus sport car, into electric ones to prove that it could be done.
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14 August 2017
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