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Task 20, Quick Charging Technology, participates in technical exchange meetings in Japan, plans for next meeting at EVS27

October 18, 2013 10:45 AM
Mitsubishi_M-Tech_Lab
Mitsubishi Motors M-Tech Laboratory, at the R&D center in Okazaki.
© Ignacio Martin, CIRCE

 

Task 20, Quick Charging Technology, held its second technical exchange workshop across three cities in Japan on June 3–5, 2013 in order to discuss the progress in the development and deployment of DC quick charging (QC) technology in Japan, Europe, and the United States (U.S.). Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) helped to organize the meeting. The Japanese government has supported the installation of more than 1,700 QC stations throughout the country.

Task 20 aims to address barriers to the deployment of QC technology, such as the lack of robust charging point networks. Developing a viable business model for QC depends on obtaining data from the field, and the best solution for each implementation of QC will depend strongly on how the QC site is used. Task 20 fosters the information exchange and multiple points of view needed in order to understand the whole picture, and identify potential gaps and solutions.

A total of 39 experts from the U.S., Germany, China, Spain, and Japan participated in the June meetings, representing automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), charging equipment providers, research centers, utilities, and government.

Meetings and industrial tours

The first day of meetings took place in the city of Nagoya in central Japan, where sessions addressed QC business cases in Japan, the grid impacts of QC, and batteries. Afterward, the Task 20 group visited the Mitsubishi Motors Okazaki production plant and Research and Development (R&D) Center. Mitsubishi presented the M-Tech Lab, which is a demonstration facility for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (collectively known as V2X) technologies. At the facility, Mitsubishi has a vehicle-to-building integration demonstration using five Mitsubishi iMievs, five battery packs, and a solar array. While the workshop group was visiting, the system was exporting about 50 kilowatts (kW) of power (3 kW x 10 battery packs plus 20 kW solar) to offset 250 kW of load for the R&D Center.

On the second day of the workshop, the Task 20 group met at METI headquarters in Tokyo, where speakers presented business cases for future charging technologies and scenarios for integrating multiple interface standards for QC systems. Eventually, the goal is to develop a more sophisticated means of connecting energy storage and renewable energy sources as parts of a distributed energy system while maintaining the stability of the grid.

Nissan Leaf with V2H unit.
Image courtesy of Ignacio Martin.

On the third day, the Task 20 group moved to Yokohama, where Nissan Motor Company and the Yokohama City government presented on how one of the most advanced cities in the world is integrating EVs into energy management initiatives. A major effort entails using Nissan vehicles and an off-board electronics unit to provide vehicle-to-home (V2H) capability up to 6 kW through a CHAdeMO interface. A total of 1,400 of these units have been sold and installed in Japan and are used as the primary charging system for Nissan EVs for these owners. Afterwards, the Task members participated in a tour of the Nissan Motor Gallery, where a demonstration unit of the vehicle-to-home technology was on display.

Finally, the Task 20 Operating Agent participated as a speaker in the Electric Vehicle & Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (EV&PHV) Town Symposium in Tokyo. An “EV&PHV Town” is a community that is actively introducing EVs & PHVs in Japan. METI selects communities to be "EV&PHV Towns" in order to establish a nationwide EV dissemination model. The symposium introduced the latest activities and efforts of selected communities.

Key findings from the Task 20 meetings

Some key findings of the discussions at the Task 20 workshop include:

  • There is no single business model for QC to succeed. Currently customers’ behavior and interaction with QC should be studied during an initial phase when the charging is provided for free. Most QC deployment initiatives are based on the fact that owners install and operate QC stations for non-economic reasons, such as providing a public service or corporate social or environmental responsibility.
     
  • The trend is for QC customers to charge their EVs for about 15 minutes, which charges the battery to between 50 and 80 percent of capacity. This implies that the customers can use services such as shopping while their EV is charging. It is widely accepted in Japan that there appears to be a strong correlation between the number of QC points and the EV sales rates in the region, although factors such as purchasing incentives also necessarily influence EV sales. For example, installed QC points along the corridor between Tokyo and Nagoya appear to correlate with increased sales of the Nissan Leaf EV in both areas. The same tendency has been observed in Osaka prefecture.
     
  • EV Project data suggests that fast charges occur most frequently in the afternoon and evening, often coinciding with grid peak demand. Solutions to avert excessive demand charges could include adaptive power electronics, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and V2X solutions, and integrating QC with renewable resources and energy storage. However, more data is needed from projects demonstrating these approaches in order to address technology barriers and identify feasible business models.
     
  • New QC stations will need to support both the new SAE Combo connectors and CHAdeMO standard because of the existing fleet. The compatibility of various chargers and EVs will need to be tested. Harmonization of test procedures is also necessary.
     

Despite the issues and challenges above, it is clear that the majority of OEMs support direct current (DC) QC, which is beginning to create charging corridors that support EVs between cities.

Next Task 20 meeting planned in conjunction with EVS27

Task 20 plans to meet in conjunction with the 27th International Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS27) in Barcelona, Spain on November 17, 2013. In addition, Task 20 will present the outcomes of the meeting in Japan as well as the next steps.

Questionnaire about QC technology

Please complete an online questionnaire about QC technology. The results will be published in the Task 20 final report to help support the widespread adoption of QC technology. More details about the survey may be found here.

For further information about upcoming meetings and Task 20 in general, please contact the Operating Agent, Mr. Ignacio Martin (CIRCE) at imartin@fcirce.es.

Contributed by Ignacio Martin (Task 20 Operating Agent) and Tony Markel (U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

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