by Brianna Crandall — February 10, 2017 — The Franklin-Thomas Company (FTC) and Carino Energy Renewables Limited (Carino) recently announced that they would provide unique StarPower fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. FTC’s CEO Joe Shepard’s recently patented split-rotor generator powers the new CHAdeMO/Level 3 charging stations. The new charging stations combine FTC’s new 70 kW split rotor generator with a 120 hp natural gas engine. This means “green,” grid-free, fast-charging stations virtually everywhere with 500 VDC at 125 Amp, says the company.
Carino Energy will distribute the charging stations worldwide under its name. Designed to charge all brands of electric vehicles, the charger could be as ubiquitous as the local gas station. Because they are self-contained and use green natural gas, they could potentially be available anywhere people need to go. A new app will guide people to the locations of these chargers and handle any fees.
Unlike current services that require 360 to 480 three-phase grid power, the new StarPower fast-charging stations create their own electrical power internally using a quiet engine to drive the unique generator. This makes the new StarPower chargers independent, green, and always available regardless of the status of the grid, points out FTC.
They are also simple to distribute in even the most remote locations: just drop them in place, connect the natural gas either directly or with a tank, and charge vehicles, says the company. No grid connections or expensive wiring is needed, according to the manufacturers. As they do not need AC/DC converters, the Carino Energy chargers are cost competitive with current grid-tied fast-charging stations.
When a customer engages the Carino Energy charger, the engine starts up and the generator supplies power. As the current supplied to the batteries varies, the load on the engine varies, and this saves fuel. Thus, a small amount of natural gas directly and efficiently recharges electric vehicles. Driving FTC’s generators with natural gas engines provide distinct advantages over grid-tied chargers far beyond just being untethered from the grid, according to Shepard.
Grid-tied chargers rely on a huge coal or oil-fired grid with power losses from the old-style generators to the transformers to the transmission lines. Shepard said he believes the advantages of electric vehicles evaporate quickly when this entire infrastructure is considered.
Aside from the environmental cost of using grid-tied EV chargers, there is the actual cost to the consumer per kilowatt to charge a vehicle. All grid-tied public EV chargers have to cost more per kilowatt than what the power company bills for electrical power. Here Shepard thinks he has the advantage as well. Using these new Carino Energy EV fast chargers may cost as much as 60% less than grid-tied public chargers. According to testing, Shepard added, Carino Energy’s next-generation home system will also charge EVs less expensively.
Carino’s CEO Norwegian native Jorn Eivik will be bringing a demonstration trailer across the country and through Canada to show the new CHAdeMO fast-charging stations. Jorn Eivik said his commitment to electric vehicles is in keeping with his native Norway, which has one of the highest electric ownership per capita.