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Hillcrest Energy’s new bidirectional onboard EV charger

Hillcrest Energy Technologies has filed a patent application for “a simplified EV charging solution” that offers universal, backward-compatible, bidirectional (V2X) charging capabilities. The company’s goal is to name a launch partner and begin proof-of-concept validation in 2023.

Hillcrest says an EV using its solution would no longer require an onboard charger, which would reduce the cost, complexity and weight of the powertrain. Eliminating the onboard charger would allow an EV to be AC-charged with the maximum power capability of the traction inverter or of the AC charging source (whichever is lower), regardless of the system voltage. This feature could allow EVs to adapt to future changes in maximum power capabilities in either the inverter or the AC charging source.

The technology is also intended to enable DC fast charging of 800 V systems on existing 400 V chargers without the need for an onboard booster unit. Hillcrest says booster units are typically of a similar size and cost to an EV’s traction inverter.

“In conjunction with the fast-switching frequency capabilities of the Hillcrest high-efficiency inverter, our universal, bidirectional charging architecture could maximize the efficiency and minimize the hardware in both the powertrain and the charging system,” said CTO Ari Berger. “An EV capable of accessing AC or DC power across a variety of voltage levels in a wired or wireless environment offers a new level of interoperability not currently available.”

“The flexibility and efficiency of this advanced charging concept could offer solutions to vehicle makers such as Tesla who are not eager to replace their current lower-voltage charging infrastructure as vehicle systems increase to 800 V,” said Hillcrest CEO Don Currie. “Using the charging technology from our enhanced powertrain solution, there’s no need to re-engineer their lineup of smaller vehicles to allow for faster, higher-voltage charging.”

Source: Hillcrest Energy Technologies

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