An Israeli company that has developed a fast charging system for electric vehicles based on kinetic flywheel technology is closing its first commercial contracts in Europe, the United States and Israel.
The system, developed by Zooz Power, formerly known as Chakratec (zooz means “to move” in Hebrew), uses grid energy to spin eight steel wheels per unit, 17,000 times per minute. Each wheel weighs about half a ton. The process converts electrical energy into kinetic energy. When a vehicle comes to recharge, the rotation is slowed down to transform this kinetic energy back into electrical energy and inject it into the vehicle’s battery with such intensity that the battery is fully recharged in approximately 15 minutes.
Boaz Weizer, CEO of Zooz Power, compares the intensity of the recharge provided by the company’s system to that of a flush that quickly releases a large amount of water.
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By using physics instead of chemistry, kinetic charging avoids environmental problems such as heavy water usage and pollution associated with lithium mining. Lithium, a mineral, is used for lithium-ion batteries, the most common storage device today.
And unlike lithium batteries, which wear out over time (think smartphones), the kinetic system continues to produce the same level of electricity, Weizer said.
According to one sustainability analyst, the Zooz Power system’s carbon footprint, from production and supply chains to operation and recycling or landfill, produces 23 times less carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. carbon per kilowatt-hour (kWh) than a lithium-ion battery – 0.0027 kilograms of CO₂ equivalent versus 0.0620 kilograms for the battery.
Over a 15-year lifecycle, the Zooster-100 draws 666,667 kWh from the grid to create 600,000 kWh of kinetic energy and releases 540,000 kWh of recharge. Weizer explained that all energy storage systems have losses and that an 80% loss was “good enough”.
Zooz Power aims to provide EV fast charging in areas where the electrical grid is not yet strong enough to provide that quick boost.
Weizer compared the current transition period from combustion-engine vehicles to electric vehicles to that which accompanied the introduction of cell phones. In the latter case, the network was of poor quality outside the main urban centers until antennas could be installed throughout the country, a process that took time.
“In Israel, you can find Tesla superchargers at the Azrieli mall in Tel Aviv,” he said. “But there is nothing between Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva[dans le sud d’Israël]. We need multiple solutions as the network modernizes. »
Five Zooster-100 units will be installed at five commercial and tourist sites in Germany: two near Frankfurt, two in Herrenberg, about 30 kilometers south of Stuttgart, and a farm at a site yet to be determined. They will be financed by a German investment company which considers that the sale of electricity produced by these units is more profitable than that of solar installations.
Currently, Zooz Power is in an advanced stage of European patent registration. She hopes to start deployment in Germany by the end of the year.
Israel’s first Zooz Power charging unit will be installed at a Dor Alon gas station in Segula, Petah Tikva, in the center of the country, also later this year. This installation is carried out in cooperation with Dor Alon and Afcon Electric Transportation.
In the United States, two pilot projects are planned for early next year – one in Rock Hill, South Carolina, with Arko, a large convenience store operator, and another with Blink, with charging at one location. near Miami.
Zooz Power’s first pilot has been operating at Vienna Airport as a proof of concept since 2018.
Earlier this year, the United States passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which will inject $7.5 billion into electric vehicle charging, as well as more than $7 billion to support the mineral supply chain for domestic battery production. of electric vehicles.
In line with US President Joe Biden’s pledge to create a nationwide network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030, all US states have already submitted plans to deploy electric vehicle infrastructure.
According to Weizer, four 150-kilowatt super-fast charging stations will be available every 80 kilometers on all U.S. interstate routes between this year and 2026.
In Israel, according to the Knesset Research and Information Center, there were 15,000 electric vehicles at the end of 2021, but only 791 charging units.
Of these, 61% were in the center of the country and, according to Weizer, most need one to three hours to fully charge their car battery. There are only dozens of super-fast 150-kilowatt chargers, he said.
“At some point, we’re going to have a lot of EVs on the road and a lot of disgruntled drivers telling friends and family not to buy any more EVs. [parce qu’il est si difficile de les recharger] “, he declared.
“Early electric vehicle owners had their own parking lot and could charge them at home,” continues Weizer.
“Today, if there are 15 EV owners on a block with EV chargers, the first five might charge overnight, but the sixth might end up with the vehicle unloaded in the morning. . It takes a super-fast public charging station like ours for those who can’t charge at night and need a quick fix in the morning. »