Quick Charge Power, the EVSE company founded by well-known EV advocated Tony Williams, is developing kits for drivers who are looking for a serious charging upgrade. For EV owners without a DC Fast Charging option, Williams is building a CHAdeMO upgrade kit called JdeMO.
The idea was inspired by Williams’s Toyota RAV4 EV, which was sold without any DC Fast Charging option. “There are a whole bunch of EVs already sold without any fast charging,” Williams told Charged during a recent interview, “and we’ve had a number of people ask us if we could build a kit for their car.”
That’s no simple task, because the CHAdeMO kits need to communicate with the battery management system (BMS). Automakers are not interested in sharing that sort of data, so each make and model requires a time-consuming reverse engineering process. “We need to know the exact chemistry of cells and the characteristics of that chemistry so we can mitigate bad behavior very quickly,” said Williams. “With that information we monitor the BMS, via the CAN bus, for any messages of problems like over voltage, over current or over temp. We program in those basic variables and then tell the DC Fast Charger what to do. If there’s a fault of any kind, it immediately shuts down. The CHAdeMO standard is open – anyone can download the specs. It’s a very logical and smart engineering solution.”
The JdeMO kit will only be available for professional installation on the Toyota RAV4 EV in Summer 2015. Williams is very cautious about selling JdeMO to the general public because “there is just too great a risk of injury while working with high-voltage DC. Eventually, limited availability will be allowed to the hobbyist/homebuilder EV market with the necessary and appropriate safeguards.”
After the company finishes JdeMO testing, which is currently underway with nine RAV4s, Williams believes the same system will work on the other EVs designed by Tesla, including the Roadster, Model S, and Mercedes B-Class ED. “From there, we’ll probably move on to the BMW i3, which is the most popular car without a widespread fast charging solution,” said Williams. Although the i3 is sold in the US with SAE’s CCS Fast Charging port as an option, Williams believes that so far few buyers have opted in, because only a handful of CCS chargers currently exist. “Let’s say you live in Oregon or Washington State, which have only a couple CCS chargers but a hundred CHAdeMO chargers – you wouldn’t buy the CCS option on the i3.”
Williams suspects that a large chunk of RAV4 owners will be interested in a CHAdeMO upgrade, “because that car is a whole new world with the CHAdeMO plug on it. It’s going to be completely orphaned by Toyota, since they’ve discontinued it, but the people who own the car really love it.”
More on Quick Charge Power with Tony Williams in the latest issue of Charged (subscribe here).