Volkswagen tests fast chargers in the scorching desert heat

Volkswagen wanted to determine what could happen when an EV is plugged into a 350 kW DC fast charger on the hottest days, so the company spent the past year building an EV charging test site at its Arizona Proving Grounds. The 50 charging stations, which feature a mix of standards and power levels from around the world, are designed to test how electric systems handle recharging at desert temperatures up to 120° F (49° C).

VW says knowledge gained from the site led to the development of a battery cooling system designed to help prevent thermal damage in emergency situations. It’s based on the technology used at the site to monitor the temperature of battery cells as they charge.

“The opening of this facility means one of the most sophisticated EV testing facilities in the world, with some of the toughest conditions on earth, will be right here in the United States,” said VW Chief Engineering Officer Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner.

The Arizona Proving Ground site includes 25 DC fast chargers ranging in power levels from 50 kW to 350 kW, along with 10 Level 2 AC chargers that simulate home charging. The chargers will utilize charge plugs from the three standard connector types: US (CCS1), Europe (CCS2) and China (GB-T), along with equipment from different brands from around the world, to optimize testing variability.

The 16 parking spots include a remote-controlled canopy that can vary the level of sun or shade used for testing. The station is also designed to accommodate emerging technologies such as inductive charging.

Source: VW