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Exro (EXRO.TO): For Those About to Charge: Understanding AC vs DC Fast Charging for EVs
Delving into the incremental benefits of Exro's Coil Driver technology
In our previous posts on Exro’s technological advantage with its Coil Driver, we focused primarily on the benefit of EV manufacturers being able to use fewer batteries to get similar torque-speed operating performance, or similarly better performance using the same battery configuration. In this post, we dive into the Coil Driver’s innate ability to allow for AC Fast Charging and its merits for Electric Vehicle Fleet operators.
Staying Current with Current Options for EV’s
One primary target market for Exro’s Coil Driver line is for Medium to Heavy Duty Vehicles (MHDV), which includes busses, vans and other delivery vehicles. Fleet economics are often enhanced by the efficiencies gained from a central charging hub when the EV’s are not in use. One central charging hub can serve many vehicles making the EV infrastructure build-out more manageable from a cost perspective.
MHDV EV manufacturers, and ultimately end users of the EV’s have an important decision to make: Do they choose to use AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) configurations?
Exro gets into some of the benefits in the following slide in their investor deck.
Exro’s Coil Drivers allow for AC Fast Charging, and in short, delivers the following benefits for OEMs:
Level 4 (faster) charging times
Smaller footprint for AC equipment
No need for charger on-board the EV
Up to 90% overall cost reduction versus traditional DC charging
V2X: When Your Car Knows More About Your Life Than You Do
V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) refers to the communication between a vehicle and everything around it, including other vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lights, and the overall infrastructure. V2X technology enables vehicles to exchange information with their environment and use that data to make more informed decisions. V2X is becoming increasingly important for electric vehicles (EVs) because it can help them maximize their efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.
V2X technology can enable EVs to communicate with charging stations to determine the best time to charge and the most efficient route to take to the nearest station. V2X technology can also improve safety on the road by enabling vehicles to communicate with each other and with the surrounding infrastructure. For example, if a pedestrian steps into the road, a car equipped with V2X technology can receive a warning signal from the pedestrian's smartphone or a nearby traffic light and automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision. Similarly, if there is an accident or a hazard up ahead, vehicles can receive alerts and adjust their speed or route accordingly.
From our perspective, integration with Exro’s Coil Driver will allow EV OEMs to integrate with V2X technology more quickly as it evolves.
Pros and Cons of AC vs DC Charging for MHDVs
Electric MHDVs can use both DC and AC charging depending on the specific vehicle and charging infrastructure. However, DC fast charging is becoming more common for MHDVs due to its ability to quickly recharge large battery packs.
AC charging, on the other hand, is generally slower and less powerful than DC charging, but is still widely used for MHDVs that require a slower charging rate or that are parked for longer periods of time, such as overnight. AC charging typically involves a charging cable that connects the vehicle to an AC power source, such as a charging station or a standard electrical outlet.
Exro’s Coil Driver provides AC Charging an advantage by allowing for a smaller equipment footprint in addition to Level 4 (fast) charging.
Level-up: A primer on EV charging rates
There are three main levels of charging rate for electric vehicles (EVs):
Level 1 Charging: This is the slowest type of charging, typically using a standard 120-volt household outlet. Level 1 charging delivers up to 3-5 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the vehicle and the battery size. This type of charging is often used for overnight charging or as a backup in case of emergency.
Level 2 Charging: This is a faster type of charging, typically using a 240-volt outlet or a dedicated charging station. Level 2 charging can deliver up to 12-60 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the vehicle. Level 2 charging is often used for home or workplace charging, as well as public charging stations.
Level 3 Charging (DC Fast Charging): This is the fastest type of charging, using specialized charging equipment that delivers high levels of power to the vehicle's battery. Level 3 charging can deliver up to 80% of the battery's capacity in as little as 30 minutes or less. Level 3 charging is often used for long-distance travel or in situations where fast charging is required.
Future State: Level 4 Charging
There is no official Level 4 fast charging category for electric vehicles. That said, the term "Level 4" is sometimes used to refer to charging systems that are even faster and more powerful than Level 3 chargers. These charging systems typically use even higher voltage and current levels than Level 3 chargers, allowing them to deliver even more power to the EV's battery. However, it's important to note that the use of the term "Level 4" is not standardized or regulated in the same way as the official Level 1, 2, and 3 charging categories, and different companies or organizations may use the term to refer to different types of charging systems.
Regardless of the Level 4 category opacity currently, for Exro this represents another advantage in that its Coil Driver positions OEM’s with the ability to deliver state-of-the-art charging speeds.
We continue to see commercial revenue once Exro’s manufacturing facility in 3Q23 as the key catalyst for investors to monitor. Additionally, we see potential for new partnership agreements for both the Coil Driver and Cell Driver over the remainder of 2023. Plus, news on some important milestones such as Cell Driver UL certification and a NASDAQ up-list. Investors that have been on the sideline or unable to invest in a pre-revenue tech company may have the ability to deploy capital into Exro as these objectives are cleared.