Could Volkswagen’s New Charging Station Take the Pressure off Local Grids?
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As the push for more electric vehicles (EVs) intensifies, more concerns are being voiced about the available infrastructure. Chargers are not yet widely accessible, and any mass installation could devastate the power grid until states find a way to strengthen it.
In Germany, Volkswagen (VW) and E.ON are working on a way to help solve this issue. Autoweek reported that the two companies have come up with a charger that won’t draw directly from the power grid. They call it the Drive Booster, and it can be plugged in just like an appliance.
VW developed a new charging station that doesn’t need to connect to a power grid directly.
Electric vehicle chargers are raising power grid concerns
There’s been a lot of debate surrounding how to approach EV infrastructure.
Supplying more charging stations and improving EV range and charging time will help convince more consumers to buy electric cars. This will also encourage more automakers to invest in EV production. Around 33% of Germans decided not to go electric due to the lack of charging stations.
However, it can be difficult to get the required funding to improve infrastructure, since the investments will likely not have quick returns. Charging stations require big investments, both in supplying them and powering them. Currently, they’re expensive to install and require a lot of digging and labor.
These charging stations may overwhelm local grids, and solar and wind energy sources might not be enough to power them. If more fossil fuels are needed to power the grid, the positive effects of EVs will be reduced.
How does the Drive Booster work?
E.ON’s Drive Booster is a fast-charging station that uses a VW battery. This charging station is easy to install and doesn’t take energy directly from local grids which could be a huge step toward widespread access to chargers. As long as the location is connected to the grid, the Drive Booster can simply be plugged into a normal outlet, just like any appliance.
The Drive Booster doesn’t need to draw power from the grid because it has its own 193.5-kWh battery. The charger can power one to two vehicles at a time and give them up to 124 miles of range in just 15 minutes. It recharges itself during off-hours, allowing it to slowly gather and store the energy it needs instead of constantly drawing power from the grid.
The outside of the Drive Booster is equipped with a 10-inch touch screen on the front for drivers to use. It also has two 43-inch monitors on either side, which owners can use to display ads.
How will the Drive Boosters help increase EV adoption?
The Drive Booster’s easy installation process and low cost could be enough to persuade hesitant station and store owners to purchase some. This could improve EV infrastructure without crippling the grid, helping to solve the chicken-egg problem of expanding the EV market.
With this project underway, Volkswagen plans to help drastically increase the number of chargers in Europe by 2025. The Drive Booster could be a key player in kicking off a much-needed EV boom.
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