A team of engineers at Purdue University have invented a charging station cable it says could fully recharge certain electric vehicles in under five minutes. Issam Mudawar, the Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue, says the patent-pending cable uses an alternative cooling method to allow the cable to support a higher electric current without overheating. The project is the result of funding through a partnership between Purdue and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F).
Currently, the most advanced EV battery chargers can support up to 520 amperes, or amps, while most consumer chargers support fewer than 150 amps.
Mudawar says the prototype developed in his lab has shown to support a current of more than 2,400 amps.
“The way we did that is by modifying the charging cable itself so that it’s carrying a unique cooling medium, which is not just pure liquid, but it evaporates and forms very small bubbles in the process,” said Mudawar. “It greatly enhances the cooling capability of the fluid.”
Mudawar says the process involves a liquid-to-vapor cooling system that can remove at least 10 times more heat than pure liquid cooling. Purdue says the prototype cable can remove up to 24.22 kilowatts of heat.
However, Mudawar says there is a second component to enabling the faster charging, which involves the EV batteries themselves.
“[That’s] in terms of their ability to absorb very high electric currents and be charged in minimal time. That’s a whole different project we’re working on at the present.”
Purdue says in order to reach a sub-five minute charge, the power output ratings of the charging station’s power supply and charging cable, as well as the power input rating of the vehicle’s battery, will need to be rated to 2,500 amps.
The next step for Mudawar and his team is testing. He says the university has been in negotiations with various companies that make the components essential to the charging process, though it could be several months before actual testing can begin.
“We are also making a major investment in our laboratory. We have established a center for ultra-fast charging of electric vehicles, and in the center, we are making investments in what we call test beds. Test beds are large, experimental facilities with a lot of flexibility to modify and test individual components as needed. We’re also making a very strong investment in computational capability to predict how the system is going to behave.”
Mudawar says there is an education investment in order to involve more senior engineering students in electric vehicle-related projects.
Purdue says the research team has filed a patent application for the charging cable through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.
Mudawar says he hopes the technology creates more opportunities for the state.
“[We hope] Indiana will benefit like other states and create tremendous research infrastructure and education a whole new generation of engineers that have unique expertise in these applications given there is going to be a lot of job opportunities over the next 15 years.”