Novel universal charger can power 120-900V EV batteries

Due to their light weight and faster charging periods, these next-generation batteries will enable EVs to reach full charge faster and go further.
Jijo Malayil
Car being charged
Car being charged

Ralf Hahn/iStock  

There's little doubt that the future of transportation is moving towards electric alternatives that offer more efficiency and pollute less. EV technologies are advancing rapidly, resulting in battery technologies that offer enhanced range and rapid-charging capabilities.

However, constant updates in the field have begun to cause practical issues in establishing the infrastructure that can handle the whole spectrum of batteries that are now accessible, much alone any future advances. 

In an attempt to solve the issue, researchers in India have made a breakthrough by developing a unique battery charger that can accommodate both current and next EV battery pack generations over a wide range of voltages: anywhere between 120 and 900 volts.

According to IEEE Spectrum, in contrast to existing solutions that use numerous passive and active components for reconfiguration, the new technology introduces a new reconfigurable battery charger to charge present-day and EV battery packs of the future.

Varying power rating

The battery pack voltages of today's popular EVs, including the Nissan Leaf S, Tesla Model X, and Mercedes-Benz EQA, range from 250V to 450V. But the Rapide E, Lucid Air, Porsche Taycan, Hyundai Ioniq, and KIA EV6 are examples of next-generation EVs that will use battery packs with voltages ranging from 600V to 800V. Such a situation presents an infrastructural challenge while installing future-proof charging infrastructure around the world. 

Due to their less weight and faster charging periods, these next-generation batteries will enable EVs to reach full charge faster and go further. "However, charging these high-voltage batteries with existing chargers degrades the efficiency, due to operating at twice the rated voltage,” said Deepak Ronanki, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in India and an IEEE senior member who was involved in the study, to IEEE Spectrum.

Their solution to the problem is a universal charger that is adaptable. The output can be varied between 20V and 900V, fulfilling the changing needs of the current and next-gen EVs

Boost–buck configuration

The system makes use of a front-end boost-buck power factor correction (PFC) circuit, which is followed by a reconfigurable DC-DC converter in the battery charger. This allows the system to boost voltage when the battery voltage is higher than the input voltage and, conversely, reduce voltage when the battery voltage is lower than the input voltage.

According to the team, a series of calculations and tests have proved that the charger can securely charge batteries at any voltage between 120 and 900 V. The charger beat the efficiency of traditional chargers at all voltages evaluated, albeit exhibiting a minor decline in efficiency at lower voltage working points (in the range of 48 to 120 V). The charging efficiency stood close to 94 percent, reported IEEE Spectrum.

The researchers have filed a patent for their technology and plan to integrate with industry partners to commercialize the charger. The team is also considering modifying their charger to work with different kinds of automobiles. "We are currently working on improving the charger efficiency in this voltage operating region so that the same charger can be used for e-bikes, e-bicycles, and small cars," Ronanki told IEEE Spectrum.

The study, detailing the research, is published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics.


The extant battery chargers are incompatible with the current and next-generation electric vehicles (EVs) due to disparities in their battery pack voltages. This letter introduces a new reconfigurable battery charger to charge the existing and next-generation EV battery packs with the same power rating, only one relay and a filter capacitor branch, unlike existing solutions where many passive and active components are utilized for reconfiguration. Also, the proposed configuration avoids a large grid-side filter requirement due to boost–buck configuration. Furthermore, a mode switching-based control scheme is proposed to operate the charger in an extremely wide voltage range with the possibility of intermediate battery voltage charging options. The MATLAB simulations and experimental studies on a 1.3-kW silicon carbide mosfet -based laboratory prototype reveal the feasibility of the proposed reconfigurable charger for low-, medium-, and high-voltage EV battery pack charging.

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