Latest Technologies for Quick Charging and Power Supply Systems for EVs

To realize a low-carbon society and thus curb global warming, countries are developing new energy sources to replace fossil fuels. In Japan, the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 has prompted a major energy policy turnaround: from the conventional strategy of using nuclear power, a non-fossil-fuel energy source, to far greater use of renewable energy sources like solar power.

This summer there are expected to be energy shortages in West Japan and other regions of the country, and these will likely be met with rolling blackouts such as the kind initiated in the Tokyo area last year.

While there will be a change to a greater proportional use of renewable energy, what won’t change is the need for a stable supply of electricity for improving people’s lives and advancing economic development.

For the time being, society has no choice but to manage its energy use efficiently by saving, generating, and storing the limited electricity available to it. One proposal for effective energy management is to make use of storage-capable lithium-ion batteries to store plentiful night-time electricity and use it for peak-time shifts in the daytime.

1) Quick Chargers for EVs
Towards its goal of realizing a low-carbon society, Japan was the first country to develop EVs (electric vehicles) and install an EV charging infrastructure. In addition, an industry group led by Tokyo Electric Power Company has proposed an international standard for quick chargers called CHAdeMO. A number of manufacturers in Japan and other countries are already offering products that use this standard, and over 1,200 CHAdeMO-compatible quick chargers have been installed worldwide.

Nichicon is a developer and manufacturer of OBCs (on board chargers), the devices that charge the lithium-ion batteries found inside EVs. Most of today’s mass-produced EVs are equipped with Nichicon OBCs.

Nichicon is also contributing to the spread of charging infrastructure: it has applied its technology to a four-product lineup (10-, 20-, 30-, and 50kW) of the world’s smallest and lightest quick chargers for EVs.

2) Quick Charging System Combining Solar Power and Energy Storage
50-kW-class quick charging systems often require high-voltage electrical equipment, but Nichicon has developed a quick-charging system that can run on a low-voltage commercial power source. This system has been installed at the Suita Service Area on the Meishin Expressway in West Japan. This quick charging system combines solar power and a lithium-ion storage battery, so it has the advantage of being able to operate on its own as an emergency power source.

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