Flash Charging EVs a Step Closer
Electric vehicles, or “EVs”, have been the subject of much conversation over the past decade, and not always for positive reasons. Issues regarding range, charging times and the electronic configurations behind them have frequently been met with scrutiny from experts and consumers alike. Despite their challenges, EVs are moving forward at a rapid pace with innovative technology continuously being successfully developed and implemented. However, it’s not just consumer applications that are driving the change in EV technology, as substantial and exciting development is being made in public transportation as part of SMART city initiatives around the world, with one particularly interesting use case coming from a university in Singapore.
Nanyang Technological University launched the first functional flash-charging electric shuttle in the second half of January 2018. Named NTU-Blue Solutions Flash Shuttle, requiring only 20 seconds to charge to its full capacity at charging stations situated at bus stops, so that they vehicle can completely recharge while picking up/dropping off passengers. The breakthrough was a product of collaboration between the University and BlueSG Pte Ltd, owned by French transportation company, Bolloré.
These shuttles are expected to eventually be as efficient as tram systems around the world, with the added benefits of zero emissions and continuous operation. Additionally, their costs are five to ten times lower in comparison, as they don’t require additional infrastructure such as tracks, or overhead cabling. On the other hand, the actual distance the shuttle is able to travel on a single charge is only 2 kilometres, with back-up power to provide energy for another 30 kilometres. The next step for the shuttles is road trials, which are scheduled to begin later this year.
While the technology behind the flash-charge shuttles is far from mature, nor are the vehicles particularly close to becoming real-life solutions, they do offer a unique perspective into the solutions of the future. For example, how energy travels and the supercapacitors inside the shuttles offer intriguing alternatives to the vehicles of today.
While EVs are not necessarily an area of expertise for Dashboard, their technology is closely related to industries of great importance for us. These technologies include energy storage, rapid charging, IoT, SMART cities and green technology. For these reasons, we are excited to see flash-charging shuttles become a reality.
Author: Nadja Kaukiainen