⚡️ High Voltage - Low Charging 😕
+ VW doubles down on Scout and Tesla continues price drops
Happy Monday, this is Electric Avenue. Are you ready to hit the road in style with us? We`re riding with the top down today so bring your Sunnies 😎
Here's what we have for you today:
High Voltage EV Battery Architectures and their Charging Limitations 😕
3 Links 🔗
Meme of the week 🤡
So buckle up and let's ride!
High-voltage EV charging limits⚡️
You just got your brand new EV. It has great specs on paper - more than 230kW peak charging power!
Tesla just opened up their network. Their chargers are reliable and fast - up to 250kW!
You rock up to the closest Supercharger site in your city. It`s in a great location with shopping and dining nearby.
But when you plug in you`re shocked - only 50kW???
Meanwhile the BMW iX, Mercedes EQS SUV and Rivian R1T next to you effortlessly pull up to 200kW peak charging power at the same chargers. What`s going on?
Well, you hit a snag there. Your vehicle is using a high-voltage battery architecture. The voltage of all your battery cells added up equals something in the range of 610-920 volts, depending on cell type and pack size. In Europe and North America the following models currently have high-voltage architectures:
Audi e-tron GT
Hyundai Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6
But Tesla Superchargers have a voltage output range of 0-500V. That`s fully sufficient for low-voltage EVs, which is basically every other car on the market - including Tesla vehicles.
Those low-voltage EV`s are limited to 200kW because the CCS standard supports up to 500 Amps of charging current today. Multiply 500 Amps with 500 Volts and you get a theoretical power limit 250,000 Watts = 250kW.
High-voltage EV`s on the other hand have a much higher theoretical limit. Multiply 500 Amps with 800 Volts and you arrive at ~400kW.
When charging at low-voltage fast chargers these high-voltage EV`s need to boost up the voltage coming from the charger output to match their battery voltage. There are a few different ways to solve this:
Using an onboard DCDC booster (Lucid, Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT do this)
Using the onboard electric motor inverter (Vehicles from Hyundai, KIA and Genesis based on the E-GMP platform do this)
Splitting the battery pack into two 400V-parts (The upcoming 2024 Porsche Macan EV will go this route)
These boost strategies have various power limitations (see table below) and come with their own pro`s and con`s in terms of cost, packaging space and added weight to the vehicle.
So your shiny new high-voltage EV + Tesla`s low-voltage charger mean limited charging speeds and extended charging times for you.
Outlook - Vehicles:
While the majority of EV models out there today are using low-voltage batteries, this may soon change. A report predicts an industry shift to high-voltage batteries as soon as 2025 (Link).
And indeed, the list of vehicles coming to market with high-voltage batteries is growing rapidly:
KIA EV9 SUV (based on E-GMP platform)
Polestar 5 SUV (Link)
Rivian R2 platform-based vehicles (Link)
Next-Gen NIO vehicles coming late 2024 (Link)
Xpeng G9 SUV (Link)
Further Chinese OEMs like BYD, Geely, Great Wall and Leapmotor have announced 800V development plans (Link)
Even Tesla is reportedly considering an 800V architecture for the upcoming Cybertruck and Semi Truck models (Link)
Outlook - Chargers:
The majority of new fast chargers being deployed in Europe and North America today is futureproof and already capable of a DC voltage output of up to 920V - with the exception of Tesla`s network. But that could soon change with the upcoming v4 Supercharger hardware. The world is waiting to see if Tesla provides a higher voltage output. It already announced longer cables to support non-Tesla vehicles, a higher voltage output would support that theme.
From a government incentive perspective Tesla would further profit from a higher voltage output range. Two major funding programs require chargers to support up to 920V:
The EV industry is moving towards higher-voltage batteries with the goal of reducing charging times ⚡.
Today`s Fast Charging infrastructure is mostly ready for this - with the exception of Tesla 👎.
For owners of affected vehicles this can mean painfully slow charging times at Superchargers. For now they are better served avoiding Tesla`s network unless they have a lot of time on their hands ⌛ .
3 Links 🔗
VW eying the electric pickup market 👀: Last week, we reported that the Rivian R1T was crowned as the winner among EV owners in the US. With American's preference for pickup trucks in mind, VW announced to build a new factory (1.9 billion euros with an annual capacity of> 200k vehicles) in South Carolina, focusing on next-generation electric pickups and SUVs for its new EV brand Scout.
EV-Roaming on the Rise 📈: While roaming for public charging stations is only just starting to become a topic in the US, the EU market has had charging station interoperability since over 10 years ago. Hubject, the largest roaming platform in Europe, was founded all the way back in 2012. The recently announced partnership between Portuguese roaming hub Mobi.E. (local CPOs and EMPs are obliged to connect to Mobi.E by the Portuguese government) and Hubject underlines the market trend to offer seamless EV-Roaming across borders.
Tesla drops prices 🤑: EV prices only knew one direction last year - up 📈. But over the last three months Tesla reduced the prices of its vehicle line-up (Model 3 and Y in January, Model S & X between 5-10k in March). Prior to price reductions, Tesla profited from high margins when demand for their vehicles was high and supply low. Now Tesla is capitalizing on its production scale and cost leverage to put pressure on the competition. We could be entering a period of EV price wars ⚔️.
Meme of the Week 🤡
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DISCLAIMER: None of this is financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. The Electric Avenue team may hold investments in the companies discussed.