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Superfast Wireless Charging & Li Mega’s Super-Duper-Fast 552 kW Charging!

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A couple of big EV charging stories just popped up across the globe from the United States. From Japan, we’ve got news of a wireless EV charging project in the “smart city” Kashiwa-no-ha that could bring wireless charging to the next level. Then, from China, we’ve got news of Li Auto’s next giant vehicle, the Li Mega, and its ridiculously high charging rates.

Useful Wireless EV Charging in Japan

Wireless EV charging was little more than a science project or futurist fantasy a decade ago. Debates about the future of the technology often included the assumption that wireless charging would always be quite an inefficient, low-power charging option — and the question was whether wireless charging would have any role in the EV future or not. After all, how useful is 6 kW wireless charging?

My, how the tech has changed! Wireless EV charging has, rather quietly, gotten faster and faster and faster, and more and more efficient. We’re now at the point where the “smart city” Kashiwa-no-ha (near Tokyo) is installing wireless EV charging infrastructure under roads at popular intersections so that EV drivers will be able to charge up automatically when they are out and about sitting at red lights. And these are truly fast EV chargers.

Well, we’re not at widespread deployment yet, as it’s still early days for this potentially competitive version of the tech. Researchers at the University of Tokyo and University of Chiba as well as staff from 9 supporting businesses (including tire giant Bridgestone) are working on this test project together. The Japanese Ministry of Transportation is also involved. Presumably, this will lead to large-scale commercial deployment in Tokyo and beyond.

The big stat we have is: “10 seconds of passing over the coils provides approximately 1 km of autonomy.” Doing the quick math, 6 km per minute means 60 km would be added in just 10 minutes sitting above one of these superfast EV wireless chargers. Reportedly, the max charging rate is around 150 kW, which is as high as the original Tesla Superchargers!

Convenience is a huge factor for many drivers, and while home charging is super convenient when you have that option, even that is not as convenient as getting charged up automagically while you are out and about doing your normal errands. Stay tuned for the next episode of “Will EV wireless charging play a big role in the future of cars?” More and more so, it looks like the answer is yes.

Super-Duper-Fast Charging in China

If you’re not going wireless, the next best thing as far as convenience goes is what one single electric automobile can now do — super-duper-fast EV charging. I’m talking about the coming Li Mega, a long, large, glitzy electric vehicle from Li Auto that can charge up to 552 kW. It’s not just the max charge rate that’s bonkers, though. According to the company, even when the battery is charged up to 80%, it can pull in 315 kW of power! That’s crazy.

In just 11 minutes (and two seconds), the Li Mega can go from 6% state of charge to 80% state of charge (SOC).

The Li Mega’s phenomenal 5C charge rate is thanks to the CATL Qilin battery it uses. “If we oversimplify, the 5C charge rate says how many times the battery can be charged in one hour. In this case, five times, so in theory, you charge the entire battery in 12 minutes. In other words, 5C means ‘five times the capacity,’ so if you have, for example, a 1000 mAh battery, you can charge it with a 5000 mA current,” CarNewsChina summarizes. “If you have a 4C battery, it can be charged four times in one hour, so having a full battery would take 15 minutes.”

Here’s a screenshot of the various charging specs and speeds of the Li Mega:

Image credit: 新出行同学

Wild, isn’t it? We’re in gas tank refueling territory with this. The key difference is that gasoline is stinky, very harmful to human health, and getting ready for retirement.

Electric Li Mega MPV. Image courtesy of Li Auto.

Electric Li Mega MPV. Image courtesy of Li Auto.

The Li Mega, overall, is quite … special, as Jo Borras and I discussed on the most recent EV Obsession show. It is very large (like all Li Auto vehicles), very long (looking a bit warped even), and looks like a mix of a Tesla Model X and a Tesla Cybertruck. We dubbed it the Tesla Cybervan as a result, or basically just said it looks like what a “Tesla Cybervan” could be. What do you think — does this MPV from the premier electric land yacht company in China look Tesla worthy?

I think we can safely say it charges much faster than any Tesla for the foreseeable future.

Li Mega MPV. Image courtesy of Li Auto.

Li Mega MPV. Image courtesy of Li Auto.

Li Mega MPV. Image courtesy of Li Auto.

Li Mega MPV. Image courtesy of Li Auto.

Li Mega MPV. Image courtesy of Li Auto.


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