Question about manufacturing cost of onboard charging related equipment - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Question about manufacturing cost of onboard charging related equipment

Hi -

In another thread:

https://www.chevybolt.org/forum/9-20...ives-cali.html

There was some discussion of the costs (and parts) to the manufacturer of outfitting a vehicle to be able to receive DCFC charge.

I have a long-standing question as to the costs (and parts and issues) to the manufacturer of outfitting a vehicle to be able to receive various AC charge levels, depending on the KW. So, for example,
- how much manufacturing cost to outfit a car to receive a 3.3 kW charge via J1772?
- how much more (if any) to outfit it to receive 6.6 kW charge? 15 or 19 kW AC charge?

is there a significant difference in interior volume and layout required to receive a higher AC charge (for example, if better cooling is needed, then would this cause issues?). Is weight higher? I've noticed that some of the European BEVs seem to be capable of receiving a higher AC charge. Do those auto manufacturers go through higher costs?

background: I don't know what are the extra costs added to a public J1772 ~6 kW station to get to the 15 or 18 kW range, but the up-front station equipment cost differential has not seemed that high (about $1k at Clipper Creek?). So, if a decent number of 15 kW AC stations could be deployed, this could serve some sort of middle ground purpose for some drivers, .... but it is hard to say here in the US because there seem to be few (Tesla?) or no vehicles deployed which could charge via J1772 at higher than 7 or 10 kw or so. I have heard a little comment over the years, but am still not sure what are the issues (cost? something else?) in how vehicle manufacturers decide what level of AC kW charging capability to install on an EV.

2013 Chevy Volt owner, looking to trade it someday for a used BEV with a well-preserved battery pack (probably liquid-cooled) and 200+ miles of range.
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 06:06 PM
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Using AC with onboard charging isn't the best way to attempt to solve the problem you are attempting. The very fact that onboard chargers are so varied are exactly the reason why the approach will have inconsistent results.

In general the onboard chargers are sized to the battery pack of the vehicle. Typically the charge rate is designed to fully recharge the battery from completely empty to completely full in a 4-10 hour period at maximum charging rate. It's one of the reasons that early models such as early Leafs and Volts had 3.3 kW chargers onboard. With 16-24 kWh battery packs, they could recharge in less than 8 hours at that rate.

The best way to solve the problem is to deliver the maximum available power to EV. DCFC is the path to that end. Not the 150-350 kW ultra high speed travel chargers that everyone thinks that DCFC must be, but lower rate in the 10-40 kW range. These give the potential to deliver maximum power to every EV that plugs in. And despite arguments to the contrary, purchase and installation costs for such stations are not so out of line as compared to commercial L2 stations.

ga2500ev
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 06:57 PM
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FWIW, the Bolt's onboard charger tops out at 32A, which at 240V is 7.68 kW. The Bolt will indeed draw that much at the start of a charge, but it will vary based on supply voltage. If the voltage is only 235V, you'll only get 7.52 kW.

Also, 7.52 kW coming out of the EVSE ends up being 7.49 kW of AC power at the Bolt's internal charger, which produces about 7.125 kW of DC power heading to the battery (where some of the power is then lost as heat). (Graphs of all this in this post.)
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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vertiformed View Post
FWIW, the Bolt's onboard charger tops out at 32A, which at 240V is 7.68 kW. The Bolt will indeed draw that much at the start of a charge, but it will vary based on supply voltage. If the voltage is only 235V, you'll only get 7.52 kW.

Also, 7.52 kW coming out of the EVSE ends up being 7.49 kW of AC power at the Bolt's internal charger, which produces about 7.125 kW of DC power heading to the battery (where some of the power is then lost as heat). (Graphs of all this in this post.)
Thanks, this does give me some insight on one of the big non-cost issues (energy loss). On this issue, it leaves me wondering if the percentages lost are roughly the same if the kW levels are more or less.

I'm still interested if anyone has insight on manufacturing cost differences. How much more does it cost to equip a vehicle to charge at about 7 or (for that matter) about 10 or 15 kW than at 3.3?

2013 Chevy Volt owner, looking to trade it someday for a used BEV with a well-preserved battery pack (probably liquid-cooled) and 200+ miles of range.
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ga2500ev View Post
Using AC with onboard charging isn't the best way to attempt to solve the problem you are attempting. The very fact that onboard chargers are so varied are exactly the reason why the approach will have inconsistent results.

In general the onboard chargers are sized to the battery pack of the vehicle. Typically the charge rate is designed to fully recharge the battery from completely empty to completely full in a 4-10 hour period at maximum charging rate. It's one of the reasons that early models such as early Leafs and Volts had 3.3 kW chargers onboard. With 16-24 kWh battery packs, they could recharge in less than 8 hours at that rate.

The best way to solve the problem is to deliver the maximum available power to EV. DCFC is the path to that end. Not the 150-350 kW ultra high speed travel chargers that everyone thinks that DCFC must be, but lower rate in the 10-40 kW range. These give the potential to deliver maximum power to every EV that plugs in. And despite arguments to the contrary, purchase and installation costs for such stations are not so out of line as compared to commercial L2 stations.

ga2500ev
Hi - You have definitely not answered my question, but I appreciate the points of information and views in and around the question.

The question, to simplify: how much does it cost to outfit a vehicle to be able to accept a standard J1772 connection and charge at 3.3 kW? How much more does it cost to outfit the vehicle to be able to charge using a J1772 connection at at 6.6 kW? 15 or 18 kW?

2013 Chevy Volt owner, looking to trade it someday for a used BEV with a well-preserved battery pack (probably liquid-cooled) and 200+ miles of range.
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 08:19 PM
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You might be able to find the difference in parts price between the 3.3 kW charger for the Volt and the optional 7.2 kW charger.
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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jlsoaz View Post
Hi - You have definitely not answered my question, but I appreciate the points of information and views in and around the question.

The question, to simplify: how much does it cost to outfit a vehicle to be able to accept a standard J1772 connection and charge at 3.3 kW? How much more does it cost to outfit the vehicle to be able to charge using a J1772 connection at at 6.6 kW? 15 or 18 kW?
I answered it the way that I did because the relevant question isn't the difference in the cost. The relevant question is why do manufacturers not put in faster onboard chargers? Chevy Volt customers had been begging GM to put in a faster charger since 2012. It didn't get done until 2018. It wasn't that they didn't have faster chargers, as clearly the Bolt carries one at twice the speed. It was based on the facts that at 3.3 kW one could completely recharge a Volt overnight coupled with the fact that the Volt had gas backup. So GM saw no need to upgrade the onboard chargers despite requests to do so.

It really doesn't matter what the difference in the cost is because the Bolt has a 7.6 kW charger period. There are no other options. So the two relevant questions are why did GM choose a 7.6 kW charger, and what other options are there for faster charging? Those were the issues I addressed.

BTW I was addressing the background of your original post. The solution for 15,20,25,30, or 40 kW charging speeds is to put in a DCFC at that power. First off AC is limited to 19.2 kW. And as you pointed out in your post, the onboard charger has to be able to convert that power. DCFC solves both problems as the limit is much higher and any car with the correct DCFC port will charge at full power of the station without any additional hardware beyond the port itself.

ga2500ev

Last edited by ga2500ev; 05-11-2019 at 10:54 PM.
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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-11-2019, 11:56 PM
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As a tangent, I wonder if we'll ever see J1772 public or workplace charging beyond 30 amps being commonplace. It's rare to find any above 30 or 32 amps. All of ChargePoint's public L2 EVSEs max out at 30 amps.

Even Tesla's taken a step backwards w/OBCs on current US vehicles maxing out at 48 amps: https://www.tesla.com/support/home-c...nboard-charger.

Until the advent of the SR and MR Model 3, the OBC possibilities on US market Tesla Model S thru 3 in terms of amperage were: 40, 48, 72 and 80 amps. Now for current sold/leased as new, it's just 32 or 48 in the US.

I can't think of any non-Tesla powered mass-market consumer EVs/PHEVs in the US equipped w/an OBC beyond 32 amps.
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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cwerdna View Post
As a tangent, I wonder if we'll ever see J1772 public or workplace charging beyond 30 amps being commonplace. It's rare to find any above 30 or 32 amps. All of ChargePoint's public L2 EVSEs max out at 30 amps.

Even Tesla's taken a step backwards w/OBCs on current US vehicles maxing out at 48 amps: https://www.tesla.com/support/home-c...nboard-charger.

Until the advent of the SR and MR Model 3, the OBC possibilities on US market Tesla Model S thru 3 in terms of amperage were: 40, 48, 72 and 80 amps. Now for current sold/leased as new, it's just 32 or 48 in the US.

I can't think of any non-Tesla powered mass-market consumer EVs/PHEVs in the US equipped w/an OBC beyond 32 amps.
The higher the amps, the thicker and heavier the cables need to be, also the more they're worth stealing for the copper.

In addition, there is the question whether a home can easily accommodate a 80A charger.

Lots of homes (mine included) have 100A service. Here's a typical calculation of electrical service needs for a 2000 sq ft home:



If we add a 32A EV charger, we'll be pushing that a bit, but it's probably still the case we won't actually run up against the 100A service limit.

But if we have a charger than can deliver 80A, it's pretty clear that it's not going to work well in a house with 100A service.

For a business, they might have more amps available than a typical home, but there is still the question of whether, say, a 300A circuit is best spent on three 80A chargers, or eight 30A chargers.
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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 05-12-2019, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vertiformed View Post
The higher the amps, the thicker and heavier the cables need to be, also the more they're worth stealing for the copper.

In addition, there is the question whether a home can easily accommodate a 80A charger.

Lots of homes (mine included) have 100A service. Here's a typical calculation of electrical service needs for a 2000 sq ft home:



If we add a 32A EV charger, we'll be pushing that a bit, but it's probably still the case we won't actually run up against the 100A service limit.

But if we have a charger than can deliver 80A, it's pretty clear that it's not going to work well in a house with 100A service.

For a business, they might have more amps available than a typical home, but there is still the question of whether, say, a 300A circuit is best spent on three 80A chargers, or eight 30A chargers.
The brunt of the argument for 10-19 kW J1772 AC charging is not at home, it's in other locations where a DC Quick charge may not be available or provide-able by the site owner, but where faster charging may be somewhat desired. The equipment cost for a 19.2 kW J1772 Charge station can be only around $2.2k, such as here:

https://store.clippercreek.com/level...arging-station

It may be that getting higher amperage to a public station site will be much more costly than for a simple 6.6 kW public station, but I think it could be less than the project costs we hear about for DCFC, even at the low end of kW for DCFC. So, I think there are going to be times (at least in these early few decades) when a ~19.2 kW J1772 would be valued by both a site owner and a vehicle driver. I think this pertains in Europe, where they have some of both (AFAIK) vehicle and station, but I think not so much here in North America (though perhaps some stations).

2013 Chevy Volt owner, looking to trade it someday for a used BEV with a well-preserved battery pack (probably liquid-cooled) and 200+ miles of range.
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