Apple Car patent reveals technology for faster electric vehicle charging

Apple Charging Patent Vehicle
Apple Charging Patent Vehicle (Image credit: USPTO)

What you need to know

  • Apple is purportedly working on an electric vehicle.
  • The company has filed for a new patent that relates to charging such a vehicle.
  • It details a modular charging system that could increase home charging speeds.

Apple has today filed for a patent relating to charging electric vehicles, another sure sign that the company is working on its very own Apple Car.

The patent, published today and discovered by iMore, was filed by Apple in March and is titled 'Modular Charging Systems for Vehicles.'

The abstract states:

Systems and methods for modular charging of vehicles are described. For example, a method may include connecting a vehicle to a charger using a charging plug interface that includes a first pair of conductors connected to alternating current terminals of an on-board alternating current-to-direct current converter of the vehicle and a second pair of conductors connected to terminals of a battery of the vehicle; and charging the battery of the vehicle via direct current flowing through the second pair of conductors concurrent with charging of the battery via alternating current flowing through the first pair of conductors to power the on-board alternating current to direct current converter.

This is specifically regarding the on-board charger that is included in electric vehicles, required to reduce how much charging infrastructure is required outside the car. By having a good OBC, some vehicles can accept AC power directly from the power grid. Speedier direct-current charging is only available at specialized charging stations at select locations.

The patent says the technology in play "may be used to provide a premium home charging experience for an electric vehicle" and could reduce charging times by including an "on-board alternating current to direct current converter" and an AC to DC converter of an external charger that can be installed in the home. The patent also allows a high-capacity battery in the external charger which can provide even faster charging when it has been "previously charged using efficient means", such as a solar cell. It continues:

Users who want more power, and faster charging times, at home (e.g., 10-20 kW), and who have a power infrastructure including an alternating current circuit breaker panel that supports it, can also install an off-board charger at the home (e.g., mounted on a wall) which is configured to convert additional power (e.g., an additional 13 kW) for charging a battery of the vehicle. The off-board charger can allow the vehicle battery to be charged concurrently with both alternating current and direct current. For example, the off-board charger may be connected to one or more wall outlets that provide alternating current power (e.g., 240 Volts AC at 60 Hz). For example, a charging plug interface (e.g., including a cord) of the off-board charger may route alternating current to the on-board charger of the vehicle (e.g., providing 7 kW of charging power), while at the same time utilizing the output of the off-board charger's alternating current to direct current converter to provide power (e.g., an additional 13 kW) to the vehicle as direct current though the charging plug interface. Such a setup may provide the benefit of utilizing the OBC (e.g., a 7 kW charger) that a vehicle operator has already purchased, and reducing the size and cost of the external charger used to achieve a given charging rate.

You can read the full and incredibly dense patent here. The patent, only filed this year, has not yet been granted to Apple.

It's no secret that Apple continues to work on an Apple Car of some description, with leaks and rumors pointing to a target release date of 2025. In the meantime, the closest thing we have to Apple Car is a major new CarPlay update that was teased at WWDC 2022 for Apple's future best iPhones.

Ios16 Apple Official Carplay

Ios16 Apple Official Carplay (Image credit: Apple)
Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9