Rivian has patented an air-conditioned EV charger that attempts to increase charging speeds by heating or cooling a vehicle’s battery during charging.
One hurdle in the way of unlocking faster charging for EVs is the problem of battery temperature. As an EV’s battery charges, particularly at high amperages, it begins to heat up, and to maintain a safe operating temperature, the charging station lowers its power output to allow the battery to cool. To battle this power throttling problem, Rivian has patented a system that could allow a charger to help heat or cool a battery in conjunction with the vehicle, depending on the ambient conditions.
According to Rivian’s patent, the air conditioning system would be built into the charging station and could heat or cool the battery, depending on the ambient temperature. Simply by blowing hot or cool air on the battery, aiding it in maintaining a stable operating temperature, Rivian believes that charging speeds can increase, battery longevity can be maintained, and fire risk while charging can be reduced, all while charging at incredibly high wattages.
Best of all, this system could easily integrate into any of Rivian’s current vehicles because it requires no physical alteration of the battery temperature management system. As seen in the diagram below, the vehicle’s battery management system would work to maintain the battery’s internal temp, but instead of taking in only outside air, the air being pushed underneath the truck would be pre-conditioned by the charger.
As stated in the Rivian patent, this innovation was brought about by the rapid increase in charging power over the past 5-10 years regarding electric vehicles, “With the rapid advance of fast charging technologies for vehicles, the cooling demand of batteries during charging has increased dramatically…”
Rivian doesn’t specify how much faster this could make charging their trucks. However, considering the jump from non-conditioned batteries that were available in the early Nissan Leafs to the charging speeds capable in most modern EVs, this jump could be equally as impressive.
As companies look to give drivers increasingly faster charging speeds on their new electric vehicles, devices like the one patented by Rivian may become necessary. Not only would it allow for higher charging wattages, but drivers could charge faster, more safely, and without risking the longevity of their current battery. Hopefully, innovations like this will become real offerings sooner rather than later.
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