When it comes to high-performance electric vehicles, carmakers Audi and Porsche have made it clear that the charging infrastructure is going to be the main bottleneck. After all, their vehicles engulf some 350kW at the charging station. Now the first components for high-performance charging are falling in place.

Independently of one another, connector manufacturer ITT Cannon and cable systems provider Leoni introduced elements of a charging infrastructure capable of reducing the charging time to a few minutes. Leoni showcased the concept design of a charging station capable of charging an 85kWh battery (like the one used in the Tesla S) within 15 minutes. Within three to five minutes, the battery can be charged for a range of 100km.

During charging, 400A at 1000V are carried over the cable. Since conventional cables, dimensioned for lower currents, would overheat during the process, Leoni enables the current-carrying parts to be cooled actively. The company however declined to specify the coolant. A spokesperson just said selecting the coolant is a responsibility of the customer. Leoni showcased the charger concept at the IZB automotive supplier’s fair in Wolfsburg (Germany).

Leoni EV charging Figure 1: Leoni's charger concept

Connector supplier ITT Cannon announced to introduce a similar charger. Like its counterpart from Leoni, the ITT charger is designed to deliver up to 400kW at 400A, and like the Leoni charger, relevant components are cooled.

Unlike Leoni, ITT Cannon provided technical details of its system: The high power density is facilitated by a dielectric cooling liquid that runs from the cable throughout the connector’s contact system. The solution works with a weight optimised cable design; the cable diameter is minimised for better flexibility.

The contact system has high-precision canted coil spring power contacts to reduce mechanical stress and the electric resistance of the contact partners to a minimum. ITT Cannon claims its contact system leads to significantly lower power losses during the charging process, compared with existing solutions. At the same time, the design maximises the life time.

ITT Cannon plans to exhibit its contact system at the eCarTec 2016 electric vehicle trade show in Munich.