Japan is installing new charge points that can recharge an EV's battery in five minutes
2 September 2008

New technology that can charge an electric car in five minutes is due to be rolled out across Japan.

The company behind the scheme, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), is Japan's largest energy supplier and has been testing the charging stations in conjunction with Mitsubishi and Subaru. Charge times will depend upon individual EVs, but a five-minute charge could allow a small electric car to travel up to 40km, while a 10 minute charge will give a 60km range.

Like Gordon Brown, the Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda has pledged a long-term commitment to electric vehicle technology, and wants half of cars sold in Japan to be electric by 2020. Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Toyota will all be launching plug-in vehicles for the Japanese market before the end of 2010.

TEPCO plan to install over 200 of the free-to-use charging stations, which cost £20k each, before March 2010. A further 1000 stations will then be installed within 3 years. The project is funded by government money.

London currently has 40 official standard charge points across the city, with a further 100 stations pledged by mayor Boris Johnson. It¹s not yet clear whether the higher-voltage fast charge technology can be used in Britain, but some experts have suggested that locations like railway station car parks could be used, as they offer easy access to a high-voltage electricity supply.

George Barrow

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2 September 2008

Brilliant news! Electric cars are becoming more realistic as everyday transport by the week


2 September 2008

Great news! Will only have to stop 24 times on my holiday journey next week. Or is the intention to have a city car and a country car? How many CO2 emissions will be involved in the manufacture of those two? According to RPJ's article last week energy production equates to 40% of emissions currently, so presumably this percentage will rise.

By the way, whilst typing this I'm looking out on the local wind farm and the turbines arn't turning due to lack of wind, so no doubt an oil or gas-fired power station has been on stand-by all day and is now on stream taking up the slack.

3 September 2008

[quote sierra]Great news! Will only have to stop 24 times on my holiday journey next week. Or is the intention to have a city car and a country car?[/quote]

As you have spotted sierra there is a fly in the EV ointment. The very place where one might seem like a way forward, (eg London) is unlikely to have anywhere near enough charging outlets with the relevant 3-phase 440 volt supply. Imagine the cost of installing that infrastructure and all of the health and safety implications. And would it be anywhere near where you lived?

I can just see the first headlines at the first case of charging point rage when two desparate city types duke it out for the last plug point at the railway station and one of them realises he is in for an expensive (diesel) taxi ride home. Here's one for free to The Sun: 'Onlookers shocked as commuters socket to each other. Government ohms up to mistaken policies and looks ready to do a volte-face'.


3 September 2008

Health and safety implications? Infrastructure? Why is London unlikely to have 415V 3-phase power available? All nonsense.

With the exception of residential properties, power is supplied using 3 phases. It's generated as 3-phase, and until the final step-down transformer, that's how it's transmitted. There may not be outlets, but any building of reasonable size will have single-phase outlets supplied from different phases. HVAC equipment, lifts, etc will all be supplied by 3-phase. To supply a whole building from a single phase would result in unbalanced currents in the 3-phase supply.

If the charging time is 5 minutes, how would it be any different from a busy petrol station? Waiting 5 minutes to start filling is hardly unusual!

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