One of the biggest fears for potential owners of electric vehicle owners is running out of fuel before reaching their destination or next charging point. Technology has flourished in the recent years in adding distance travel capabilities on a single charge but the fact remains the lack of charging stations. But the capability to make a long distance journey has limited the use of electric vehicles. Tesla has their own super charge network which connects Canada the United States coast to coast but the routes are limited. On Thursday, a new competitor has arrived on the scene. ChargePoint is a California-based company and is introducing its ExpressPlus charging network, a family of of ultra fast DC charging products designed to meet the needs of electric vehicle owners. ChargePoint will not be operating any electric vehicle charging stations themselves, but instead will be selling its equipment and licenses its technology to other businesses like hotels, restaurants or malls that want to provide charging stations for their target market.
The chargers will be available this summer and would let electric vehicle owners add hundreds of miles of driving range in a very short amount of time. The product will be able to charge any vehicle at the maximum possible speed, a speed determined by the specifics of each car and its battery pack. Most publicly available charging stations at the moment are known as level 2 stations which can add 25 miles of range in an hour of charging. DC fast charges are much quicker which offer up to 40 miles of range for every 10 minutes charged. The benchmark for recharging is traditional gas. In a gas station, it takes about five to ten minutes to fuel up worth at least 300 miles of range on an average car. A Tesla supercharger can replenish 170 miles of range in about 30 minutes.
The technology for electric vehicles are changing, larger batter packs, more efficient fuel consumption, can see newer models provide over 200 miles in range. The advantage of ExpressPlus will be its ability to scale according to needs of the consumer. It can easily charge today's electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV at their maximum rate but can be upgraded to handle the charging requirements of the next-generation plug-in vehicles which include electric buses and trucks. And instead of the equipment going obsolete every few years and needing to upgrade with brand new equipment, ExpressPlus is a modular system that can grow to support a range of 200 volts to 1000 volts which can serve up to a megawatt across as many as eight charging stations. ExpressPlus debuts two months after the Obama administration announced a plan for 48 electric vehicle charging corridors along the nation's interstate highways in an attempt to increase the adoption of electric vehicles.