Researchers at the Technical University of Munich are working on prototypes of a truck with an electric drive and a corresponding charging column. This is intended to enable ultra-fast charging in the megawatt range.
The Technical University of Munich (Germany) is leading the Nefton project (commercial vehicle electrification for transport sector-optimized grid connection). In it, the prototype of a truck with electric drive and a corresponding charging station is being developed and tested. Currently, the first battery-electric truck prototypes are already being tested at customers’ local transport operations. The solutions for long-distance electric truck transport with corresponding fast charging should be economically feasible and can be implemented in a timely manner.
In developing the so-called Megawatt Charging System (MCS), the researchers are relying on a stationary buffer storage system that can compensate for the lower connected load. This would save the cost of a corresponding grid connection. The batteries in the truck also need to be prepared for the high charging power. “We will probably initially use water cooling for the battery, cables and connectors,” explains Sebastian Wolff from the Chair of Automotive Engineering at TUM.
Using trucks as electricity storage
The charging columns will be designed to be bidirectional, so that the trucks can act as renewable energy storage units when they are parked for long periods of time in the trucking company’s parking lot. “This concept can be much more attractive and economical with trucks than with an electric car, for example, because of the higher storage capacity,” says Wolff. MAN Truck & Bus SE and AVL Software and Functions GmbH are also involved in the project, as are Prettl Electronics GmbH, the Research Center for Energy Economics and Deggendorf Technical University. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.