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Canada’s FLO unveils fastest Level-2 electric vehicle charger

Canadian electric vehicle technology company FLO has introduced a Level-2 charger that is the mos...

IMAGE: FLO's CoRe+ MAX charger

FLO’s CoRe+ MAX electric vehicle charger in action. (Courtesy FLO)

Canadian electric vehicle technology company FLO has introduced a Level-2 charger that is the most powerful in the North American market, charging vehicles up to 2.7 times faster than existing systems.

The CoRe+ MAX EV charger was unveiled at the recent National Automobile Dealership Association (NADA) trade show in Las Vegas and has already attracted high-level interest. FLO announced this week it is teaming up with Uber Canada to offer its platform users discounts and sign-up incentives.

FLO says the CoRe+ MAX EV charger offers customizable features and will be able to charge more powerful EV vehicle systems, which it expects will be built into future vehicles. Finally, the company says as the need for electrical infrastructure becomes more vital to potential EV consumers, the charger will do this at less cost than traditional Level-2 chargers.

FLO’s new charger to reduce EV charging times

“We believe there is a growing need for adaptable commercial chargers given the broad array of EVs coming to market soon,” said Nathan Yang, the chief product officer at FLO, in a statement.

“Owners can limit the maximum available amperage to charge light-duty electric vehicles and pickup trucks during the day while increasing capacity to charge larger vehicles, such as electric school buses, overnight. At a quarter of the cost of a typical DCFC charger, the CoRe+ MAX offers great value while giving fleet operators a solution that will remain relevant for many years to come.”

FLO is headquartered in Quebec City, has an assembly plant in Shawinigan, Que., and other offices in Montreal, Vancouver and Sacramento, Calif.

For FLO and Yang, the goal is to lower charging times while making the entire EV charging experience even more streamlined.

“We’re not pumping liquid into a vehicle anymore; there should be other ways to charge with less user pain. Chargers today, even on the latest models that release, could still be shrunken and cost-reduced, so we’re working towards that, and we see that in the future as well,” Yang told SustainableBiz. “I think in the next two to three years, you’ll see a lot more innovation coming in this place, especially now that the market caught up with us.”

The promotion with Uber, meanwhile, means app users in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver can receive a 50 per cent discount and up to $10 off on their first trip with Uber Green — its low-emission ride option that connects travellers with hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its fleet.

Using the Uber rides and deliveries platform, drivers can receive a $100 discount on purchasing a residential FLO EV charger.

Building on the original CoRe+ model

The new EV charger design stems from FLO’s original Core+ smart Level-2 charger — the Core+. Offering a range between 1.2 kW to 7.2 kW, the updated model comes in six configurations, from wall-mounted units to back-to-back pedestals.

The most significant benefit of the CoRe+ MAX EV is that it offers a maximum power output of 19.2 kW and up to 80 AMPs. They’re because the units can be used with amperage anywhere between 15 and 80 AMPs, according to B.C. Hydro.

Yang said most residential chargers offer between 32 AMPs and 48 AMPs.

With up to 80 AMPs available through the CoRe+ MAX, the fast chargers provide up to 250 km of range per hour, according to the company’s website.

This makes them suitable for overnight charging of light and medium-duty trucks for the same reason.

Yang also calls the chargers “future-proof” — many current users may not need to use the full amperage and kilowatts available in the device. But as technology improves in future years, “then you can increase the power as you get, for example, buses that might be able to support the higher AC power intake,” he explained.

Both the Max and the CoRe+ share many basic features, such as an operational temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to over 50C.

Pilot project in Canada, U.S.

The charger, which measures 18.75×7.5 inches, is typically mounted to a panel. The charging cable is 7.62 metres in length and has been upgraded from the previous version to carry the higher available current.

A pilot project has been underway in multiple Canadian and U.S. locations over the past 12 months. The initiative has helped FLO gather insight into potential residential and commercial installations, such as retail stores, hotels, and restaurants.

“It’s aggregating all this knowledge, and these are high power, we want this to be safe, reliable and robust . . . It’s almost a decade of know-how built into this latest generation,” Yang said, noting they’ve also made the chargers more robust for more rugged, outdoor commercial use.

Yang said established fleet managers have already adopted the fast-charging devices but declined to identify any companies.

Like FLO’s previous chargers, the MAX can be controlled via FLO’s wifi-based app. Users can change the amperage, find public charging stations, pay for charging via their smartphones or view their usage data.

Looking to the future of EV chargers

BloombergNEF’s 2021 electric vehicle outlook report states that for a net-zero transition, the required number of chargers worldwide needs to increase to 504 million connectors by 2040 and 722 million connectors by 2050.

Passenger EV sales are expected to see the biggest rise, according to the report, from 3.1 million in 2020 to 14 million in 2025.

To prepare for this, Yang said the company plans “aggressive” expansion in the U.S., with recent deployments in Los Angeles, New York and Alaska.

FLO, along with parent company AddEnergie Technologies Inc., boasts of “enabling more than half a million charging events” at its over 60,000 EV charging stations in North America since the company was founded in 2009.

This month, the company appointed Tom Werner, the former 18-year CEO of the San Jose-based SunPower Corporation, as the board chair.

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