Powerful new EV charger starts field tests in Arizona this weekend

Powerful new EV charger starts field tests in Arizona this weekend

Enlarge / This cube is Nxu’s new charging system, designed to handle up to 4.5 MW of bidirectional power. You can test it out in Mesa, Arizona, between September 28 and October 1, 2023.


Electric vehicles have matured over the past decade to the point where, with few exceptions, they’re now a superior alternative to internal combustion engines. They’re quiet, produce instant torque, and have roughly triple the energy efficiency of a hydrocarbon-burning powertrain. The problem is that recharging an EV battery takes longer than refilling a fuel tank with liquid fuel. A lot longer—even the fastest fast-charging EV still needs 18 minutes to get from 10 to 80 percent state of charge, with 30 to 40 minutes being more common for most EVs on sale today.

Those long charge times are one of the driving forces behind the interest in hydrogen fuel cell EVs, despite the terrible efficiency losses involved in making and using that fuel versus simply storing electricity in a battery. But there are other solutions being pursued. Currently, the most powerful fast chargers an EV driver might encounter in the wild max out at 350 kW—still more than any EV I can think of is capable of accepting. But even more powerful DC chargers are in the works, like the one that Nxu is deploying in Arizona.

“EV users are looking for charging solutions that are reliable, consistent, and convenient. Today, they often only get one of those three, if any at all, when they charge their vehicles,” said Nxu founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Hanchett. “Nxu aims to deliver on all three, starting with our proprietary, powerful Nxu One Charging System. We anticipate a very favorable response from those who experience our charging technology, and we can’t wait to put charging power back in the hands of EV drivers,” Hanchett said.

Nxu has designed the Nxu One Charging System to support enormous amounts of power—up to 4.5 MW of bi-directional DC power, the company claims. That’s far more power than any current EV can accept, but EV drivers in Mesa, Arizona, will have an opportunity to trial the system this weekend at power outputs of up to 700 kW.

Nxu is starting public trials with its charger, one of which is located outside the company’s manufacturing plant at 1828 N. Higley Road in Mesa. Any EV that supports the Combined Charging Standard plug can use the charger, and Nxu is charging just a single dollar for a charge for drivers between Thursday, September 28, and Sunday, October 1.

Fear not, fans of the North American Charging Standard—this is the Tesla-designed plug that, in the past few months, has made rapid inroads in the rest of the EV industry and will be the dominant EV charging plug in 2025. Nxu is a fan of this shift from CCS to NACS and says it will support NACS plugs as well as its own proprietary NXuOne connector on future charging stations. The first of those will be located in Quartzsite, Arizona (off exit 19 on I-10), with construction planned for 2024.

If you happen to be in Mesa this weekend and get to test out the Nxu charger, please let us know how it went in the comments.

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