Shell Recharge Tangkak DC charger switches to single 180 kW – this is why we need per-kWh billing ASAP –

EV users in Malaysia have lost one highway DC fast charging bay as Shell ParkEasy has reconfigured their Tangkak south-bound ABB charger to supply 180 kW to a single bay instead of the previous configuration of 90 kW to two bays each.

There are pros and cons to this. Shell Recharge charges a RM4 confirmation fee and RM20 for every five mins of charging for the first 25 minutes, and RM20 for every five minute block thereafter.

Since the use of the charger is currently based on time, this means an EV using the charger could potentially get more kWh for each ringgit paid, if the EV is able to charge at a rate of higher than 90 kW. This means using the charger could be potentially cheaper.

The negative part to this is that now only one EV can charge at any one time, potentially resulting in long queues of EVs waiting to use the charger.

Now we say charging is now potentially cheaper because not many EVs are able to use the full 180 kW charging rate. These high charge rates are usually more easily achieved by bumping up voltage instead of amps, so you’re looking at 800V architecture EVs such as the Porsche Taycan and Hyundai ioniq 5 benefiting from higher 180 kW rates.

For the majority of 400V architecture EVs on the market, charging will be limited by amps, so even though an EV like the BMW iX xDrive40 is rated at a max 150 kW charge rate, it can only take in about 120-130 kW at the Tangkak charger. 400 V EVs would be able to charge at a higher speeds at sites with high amp chargers such as the 500 A high performance chargers with water-cooled cables at Porsche Centres.

This problem would not exist if charger operators were allowed to charge by kWh instead of time. If per kWh fees were allowed, the DC charger could simply be configured for dynamic power allocation – 180 kW if one cable is used, 90 kW if two cable is used. If two EVs were to charge at the same time, they would not complain as they would be paying for the same amount of kWh going into the battery, just at a potentially halved speed.

Unfortunately charging by kWh is currently illegal without a license. The relevant ministries should come up with something like BNM’s fintech sandbox to allow EV charger operators to charge by kWh. In the long run, there has to be a way for charger operators to charge by kWh – imagine having to pay for petrol by how long you are parked at the pump, it doesn’t make much sense does it?

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