Daimler and BYD’s Denza EV will not make its premiere until the Beijing Auto Show in April, but the car's at-home charger is not waiting until spring to make its debut.
Home charging units for new electric vehicles don’t usually make headlines, but this is no regular Level 2 charger. Instead, ABB is collaborating with Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Company, or BDNT, to provide its direct current fast-chargers for the next six years for Denza electric vehicle drivers. It is the first time that DC fast chargers will be the standard at-home charging offering for an EV.
The wall-mounted DC chargers for home use will be sold through Denza dealerships along with the vehicle, a bundling option that has become increasingly popular with carmakers. There are no specific projected sales figures, but InsideEvs.com reports that production capacity is up to 40,000 units per year. By comparison, there are less than 500 public DC fast chargers in the U.S.
Until now, the standard offering for at-home charging is Level 2 240-volt chargers, which can usually take up to eight hours to charge a typical EV. DC fast chargers, on the other hand, can charge a car battery in as little as 30 minutes.
Although one study found that fast charging is key to EV adoption, it’s not clear whether that applies to home charging. Generally, people leave their cars plugged in overnight, when the longer charging times are not a problem.
“We are honored to be a partner in this venture to move urban transportation forward in a more sustainable way. By combining car sales with fast chargers, Denza is taking a bold step to address a key obstacle for potential buyers of EVs,” Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB Group, said in a statement.
DC fast chargers overcome one obstacle -- slow charging times -- but introduce another: grid integration. One issue that has hampered DC charger adoption in the U.S. is that the devices often require an upgrade to local transformers because of the high power needs of the 480-volt chargers. It is unclear how difficult it might be to install a DC fast charger in a Chinese home, compared to a Level 2 charger.
The chargers will meet China’s GBT standard for DC fast charging, which is another standard that carmakers and charging station manufacturers will have to contend with if they want to penetrate the Chinese market. The first units should be delivered by the middle of this year.
Details about the Denza EV are still hard to come by, but the car will have a range of about 120 miles. According to China Car Times, it will first be sold in select cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, with other cities to follow. The four-door hatchback will reportedly cost around $65,000, although China Car Times notes that Beijing subsidies for EVs are “rather generous.” ABB did not release the price of the charger.
ABB calls the deal with BDNT the world’s largest EV fast charger network. Last year, it claimed the world’s largest nationwide EV charging network in the Netherlands, where it will install 200 DC fast-charging stations.
If the Denza EV sales even come close to the reported production capacity, the DC fast charger sales will dwarf anything that has happened in other regions. China is also reportedly exploring public DC fast charging, although no large networks or timelines have been announced.