We should not be leaving AC 3-phase Fast Charging behind in North America. 

“Once upon a time, the focus was on residential EV charging and the SAE J1772 standard was born in 2009. It was designed by the Yasaki Corporation, operating at 120V-240V AC at a maximum current of 80 amps. 

The J1772 was certified by the UL and voted by the SAE in July 2009’s committee. It was mandated as a standard by the CARB in California in 2012 and approved as an international standard under the IEC 62196-2.”

Now 14 years later the focus has expanded to the Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle (MHDV) corporate fleet segment. 

These larger and heavier vehicles have bigger batteries and need higher charging power. So, we have chosen to charge them with fast DC power of up to 350 kW and even later in the DC MW range. 

Voila – problem solved.

Well, not really since the DC fast charging stations are expensive and fleet electrification is very sensitive to the Total Cost of
Ownership (TCO) incl. charging infrastructure at their home depots. Most commercial and industrial buildings (even public fast
charging locations incl. Tesla Superchargers) have native 3-phase AC power grid access. Either 3-phase 208V or 480V. 

The power is used for industrial HVAC, lighting, and power-hungry
machines. But not for 3-phase AC chargers – why not?

Fast DC charging stations are bulky, heavy, and expensive compared to fast 3-phase AC chargers.

Solutions are staring us in the face: 

SAE J3068 3-phase AC is a North American standard for MHDVs and was released in 2018. However, it has gotten little traction since then. The CharIn promoted 3-Phase type plug provides 3-phase AC up to 43kW in Europe. 

Why can’t we do AC 3-phase fast charging in North America?

Both Tesla and Renault EVs in Europe have 3-phase AC CCS2 intelligently designed to be an integrated part of the EV, with only adding marginal extra weight, volume, and cost to their light-duty vehicles. More on this in a follow-on post.

Not being an expert in all the technical stuff and mostly focusing on the economics, it would IMHO seem evident that the lowest cost solution would have a fair chance in the market. 

Not to replace fast DC charging, but to offer corporate fleets inexpensive alternatives that would suffice for many
fleet use cases.

Let’s look at a real-life example:

A. 50kW-60kW Fast DC charger
·       Power Control System (PCS) 1,500 Lbs
·       Dispenser 150 Lbs
·       Pedestal mounted on a concrete pad
·       Pricing $30,000-$40,000
Source: EVAdoption/Cleantek.co

B. 52kW Fast 3-Phase AC charger (www.Nuvve.com)
·       Charging unit 29 Lbs
·       Wall mounted 
·       Pricing $4,000–$5,000

Both are even for bidirectional chargers. 😇

3-Phase fast AC charging stations are an attractive alternative to fast DC for depot charging. They are smaller, lighter, and can
lower the TCO.  

Let’s make a second start to revitalize and gain momentum for 3-Phase AC fast charging in North America.


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