ChargePoint ups the fast charging ante

On the heels of EVgo‘s announcement that it was breaking ground on its first 350-kW public charger, ChargePoint announced at CES that it has developed what it calls an ultra-fast DC charging station that can deliver up to 400 kW.

The ChargePoint Express Plus is aimed at cutting-edge cars that charge quickly and have long ranges, like the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt — cars that could be taken on long trips, if there were enough high-powered charging stations spaced along highways.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects that sales of electric vehicles will reach 41 million worldwide by 2040, which would be 35 percent of new vehicle sales. The BNEF researchers found that EVs will account for a quarter of the cars on the road by then, and they’ll need to charge up.

The Express Plus chargers are also capable of charging these cars smarter. The stations will be able to read the battery’s state of charge and give more power to vehicles with lower battery power and less power to those that just stopped in to top off the charge. The system is also modular, using half-megawatt “cubes” that can be hidden behind┬ásome shrubbery. As power needs grow at a station, more power-providing cubes can be added. And, presumably, more landscaping.

The high power of the Express Plus chargers will potentially better serve electric transit, like buses, and service trucks that are out on the road all day. A quicker charge means more time on the road delivering passengers and packages.

The goal, according to ChargePoint, is to add new stations to the infrastructure. It’s the chicken that has to come before the egg of manufacturers ramping up production and consumers feeling confident in buying an EV. The Express Plus stations will be available for installation by early summer 2017.