Innovation That Matters

Petalite has developed a simpler way to convert mains electricity into a current that can charge an electric vehicle | Photo source Petalite

New technology could revolutionise electric vehicle charging

Mobility & Transport

A new charging system vastly improves reliability, scalability, and cost-effectiveness

Spotted: Today’s standard electric vehicle (EV) charging technology is not fit for the future. Over time, the same technology that is used to charge mobile phones and laptops has been adapted piecemeal to fit the requirements of the EV industry.

This has created several problems. As EV charging systems have been stitched together using technology that was not designed for the purpose, they have become over-complicated and reliant on expensive components. What is more, existing chargers face problems of scalability and reliability, with chargers regularly shutting down and going out of use. This makes it less profitable for companies to invest in charging points while eroding trust among the public, adding to ‘range anxiety’.

Now, UK startup Petalite has developed new charging technology specifically designed for EVs. To charge an electric vehicle, the alternating (‘AC’) current that comes out of the power station must be converted into a direct (‘DC’) current. Petalite has developed a simpler way to make this conversion with fewer stages, using its patented ‘SDC Technology’. One of the key features of this technology is that it is localised and works independently of the voltage of the EV battery. This means the system doesn’t depend on the reliability of the driver’s vehicle – as it does with traditional charging.

The Petalite technology offers several important benefits. Most important among these is reliability. The system is three times more robust than traditional chargers and is designed to meet a target of 99.99 per cent uptime (the percentage of time the charger is working and available). The Petalite technology also has a much longer lifespan. A second key benefit is scalability. The company’s hardware can be stacked together and upgraded to meet future requirements – something which is difficult to do with existing solutions. A final benefit is cost. Petalite’s technology is built using parts that are easier and cheaper to source, and the system has 50 per cent fewer components overall.

Beyond the technological benefits, Petalite is aiming to shift mindsets about charging technology, encouraging people to think of it as a service rather than a product – something the company calls ‘Charging as a Service’ in a play on the now ubiquitous Software as a Service (SaaS). The company promises to maintain and service chargers to support customers for the future. This ultimately reduces maintenance costs and increases return on investment.

Charging is a hot topic for innovation, and Springwise has spotted several similar solutions. These include AI-powered smart chargers and chargers that offer continuous full power and load balancing.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead



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