Ford and Purdue File Patent for EV Tech to Shorten Charging Times

Researchers at Ford and Purdue have started developing a new, patent-pending charging station cable that could one day charge electric vehicles as quickly as refueling at the gas station. // Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, have announced, as part of a research alliance, that they are working on the development of a new patent-pending charging station cable that could combine with advances in on-board charging technology to one day allow electric vehicles to be recharged as quickly as refueling at the gas station.

“Today chargers are limited in the speed at which they can charge an EV battery due to the risk of overheating. Faster charging requires more current to pass through the charging cable, ”says Michael Degner, senior technical manager of Ford’s research and advanced engineering. “The higher the current, the more heat that must be removed to keep the cable operational. “

Purdue researchers are focusing on an alternative cooling method by designing a charging cable that provides increased current and uses liquid as the active coolant, helping to extract heat from the cable by changing phase from liquid to vapor.

The researchers say that this innovation, coupled with vehicle charging and other technological improvements made in parallel, is what will lead to the potential recharge times of gas stations.

The idea for this technology arose out of the Ford team’s understanding of the challenges faced in accelerating charge rates, as well as the area of ​​expertise of Purdue researchers. The teams collaborate regularly to review the latest results and provide input on areas of interest as technology develops.

“The charging time of an electric vehicle can vary considerably, from 20 minutes at a terminal to hours at a home terminal, and this can be a source of anxiety for people who are considering purchasing an electric vehicle.” says Issam Mudawar, professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue. “My laboratory has found a solution for situations where the quantities of heat produced exceed the capabilities of today’s technologies.

Mudawar says his lab intends to start testing a prototype charging cable over the next two years to determine more specific charging speeds for certain electric vehicle models.

The Ford-Purdue Alliance is an alliance the company has entered into with university professors around the world to provide graduate students with opportunities to work on real-world challenges.

“The research we’re doing in a project like this is really advanced, and we see it as a benefit to us, the future of electric vehicle charging and as a pipeline for young talent – and we’ve been successful in do it. “says Ted Miller, head of electrification subsystems and power research at Ford.” Students are engaged, they love the work they do and it is a sustained investment in their laboratories, while helping us solve problems.

Although the fast charging cable won’t hit the market for some time as research continues, Mudawar has developed ways to cool electronics more efficiently over the past 37 years by taking advantage of how the liquid captures heat when it is boiled into vapor.

To learn more about Purdue’s research, click here.

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