Hofer Powertrain, a development and technology specialist from Nürtingen, has filed for a patent on a new megawatt charging system for electric trucks. The system, called the “multi-sector overhead line,” features short sections of overhead wires installed on highways instead of continuous overhead lines.
According to Hofer, the system can deliver up to 3.75 MW and reduce charging times for commercial vehicles and trucks by up to 90% on highways. The charging process is carried out through external DC/DC chargers that transfer power directly to the vehicle while it is in motion.
The charging process is optimized through an over-the-air pre-announcement from the vehicle system, ensuring the best possible utilization of the overhead line and maximum battery charging energy. When away from the overhead lines, electric trucks run on battery power.
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According to Hofer, the voltage of the overhead line depends on the state of charge (SoC) of the truck battery and can range from 600 to 1,250 volts, delivering a maximum charging power of 3.75 MW at 3,000 amps. Multiple vehicles can be charged simultaneously on the overhead line sections, which will vary in length based on energy requirements and the number of vehicles.
In addition to the overhead line charging system, the concept also includes a standardized CCS or MCS charging plug system as a secondary charging option. Gerold Sluka, Hofer's head of development for high-voltage battery systems, emphasizes the company's commitment to rethinking conventional concepts for greater efficiency, innovation, and sustainability. Hofer views the technology as a means to increase cost-efficiency in electromobility and sees high potential for autonomous vehicle applications.
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Hofer has a long history of involvement in fast-charging scenarios, including participation in the recently completed D-SEe research project. In this project, Hofer worked with the University of Bochum to develop a fast-charging station with 450 kW charging power and a prototype vehicle. The company also created a battery type with an optimal power-to-energy ratio and efficient balance between heat generation, service life, and range. The project results, including the development of new test procedures, high-end charging electronics, and a real 410 km range at 15 minutes of charging time, will have a significant impact on the development of e-mobility.