E.ON Booster fast-charger features 193.5-kWh battery based on Volkswagen's MEB toolkit, requiring only an existing power connection.
Two EVs can be fast-charged simultaneously by this station, which also does not require digging or other infrastructure to be installed in a location.
There is a new focus on charging station concepts that do not rely on the grid, as traditional EV charging infrastructure continues to present high costs.
Working with electric utilities is one of the more time consuming parts of building new charging stations, as quite a lot of infrastructure work and planning goes into building an EV station, as the local grid has to be taken into account in such projects.
But what if electric utilities weren't involved at all, and a station could just be delivered on a flatbed truck with a forklift?
That's the promise of a fast-charging station dubbed Drive Booster, developed by E.ON and Volkswagen that was just opened for use in Essen, Germany. The concept behind it is quite simple: Instead of drawing power directly from the grid, the charger has its own integrated battery, and draws power from a normal power connection found in any supermarket, like a soda machine or other large appliance. The charger can juice up two EVs at once at speeds of up to 150 kW, giving them enough range in 15 minutes to travel 124 miles.
The aim of the Drive Booster is to make EV charging stations an easy item for locations like stores and gas stations to purchase, without the need for extensive infrastructure construction. VW says that the plug-and-play Drive Booster can simply be placed at a location, plugged into a power connection, configured online, and then it's ready to charge EVs. No extended planning or civil engineering work or even digging is required—it only needs a solid foundation and an existing grid connection. The Drive Booster recharges its battery in between charging sessions and at night of course, during off-peak hours.
"The expansion of e-mobility is an important building block of the energy transition. In order to make electric vehicles more attractive, we need charging stations to be abundant and powerful," said Patrick Lammers, responsible for customer solutions on the board at E.ON. "After all, around one third of Germans choose not to buy electric vehicles because they believe there are not enough charging stations. I am proud that with the E.ON Drive Booster we have an immediate and attractive offer for businesses and municipalities wanting to set up charging stations without spending a fortune."
The battery itself has a 193.5-kWh capacity, and is actually based on Volkswagen's MEB hardware. The Drive Booster also features one 43-inch monitor on each side, which E.ON says is suitable for owner-provided ads, and two 10-inch touch panels for user operation.
The battery-based charging station is one of a number of new charging station concepts that's available for purchase that operates independent of the grid, with the other major type of station being solar-powered, requiring no connection to the grid either. With a large battery on board, this type of station is more attractive to businesses with a small footprint and an aversion to overhead costs, as it can be dropped just about anywhere that a store or gas station can run a power cord, like a vending machine or ATM.
Perhaps it will be this type of battery-based station that will be the most common as gas stations begin to install EV chargers.
"We are taking the expansion of charging infrastructure into our own hands and aiming to work with strong partners to bring about a fivefold increase in the number of fast chargers in Europe by 2025," said Thomas Schmall, board member for technology at Volkswagen AG and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components. "Through our collaboration with E.ON, the fast-charging stations developed and produced by Volkswagen Group Components can be put to use. They are ideally suited to support the rapid expansion of charging infrastructure, since the time and costs required for installation are minimal."