BMW and Porsche's Three-Minute Ultrafast Charger Is Here to Cure Your Range Anxiety

Image: BMW

BMW and Porsche unveiled a prototype ultrafast electric car charger capable of charging specially designed research cars to 100 kilometers, or about 62 miles, worth of charge in just three minutes and to 80 percent of battery life within 15 minutes. And just like that, the era of electric range anxiety is over.

Well, not really. There’s only one of these ultrafast chargers in the word so far, and it’s in Jettingen-Scheppach, Germany. The 450 kW charger is open and free to any cars with Type 2 version of the internationally widespread Combined Charging System.

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Sadly you won’t get such incredibly speedy charge times on your run-of-the-mill i3 or Porsche Panamera hybrid, or any other current EV. New cars, like the upcoming iX3 crossover, will be specially developed by the companies to accept a huge charge. From Bloomberg:

One drawback — the charger offers more power than current models can take on. The BMW i3 limits its power intake to 50 kilowatts, while the battery-powered iX3 will triple that to 150 kilowatts when it rolls out in 2020.

For the test vehicles to withstand the full electricity surge, Porsche used a cooling system that keeps battery cells at a steady temperature, while the charging cables were cooled too. Siemens provided a higher electric voltage energy supply to test the limits of the power jolt.

Now if you happen to charge up your BMW in Jettingen-Scheppach, the new charger won’t blow up your car, as it can automatically adapt the amount of charge it provides each model it interacts with, BMW said in a press release.

Keeping charging times down is seen as a huge hurtle to mass electric vehicle acceptance. Tesla has been working on the problem for years, getting an 80 percent charge out of their super chargers in around half an hour. It seems such an insurmountable problem that the company is planning drive-in Supercharger station restaurants to give folks something to do while their cars charge.

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Tesla isn’t the only company bested here. GM is currently racing to develop an Extreme Fast Charger that would charge a car up to 180 miles in just 10 minutes. At any rate, it’s good to see other automakers following Tesla’s example and investing in the charging network—even if it wasn’t exactly a choice in one case.

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Erin Marquis

Managing Editor of Jalopnik.