Charging Technology

The MCS Potential: How Megawatt Charging Will Move the Electrification Needle

As an electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions provider for fleets, we often get asked if the chargers at our sites will be on the Megawatt Charging System (MCS). The question seems to reflect a general increase in MCS chatter within EV circles, as the technology gradually gets closer to adoption. 

In light of the heightened attention and interest in MCS, we put this article together to outline where the industry is at today as far as charging capacity, and what the road to MCS adoption looks like — at least for charging solutions providers like Terawatt.

Why is MCS so important for heavy duty EVs?

Without faster charging, the commercial viability of heavy duty BEVs remains limited to short haul routes. Additionally, 30 minutes is the sweet spot as far as industry refueling times — it fits with most driver breaks as well as current diesel fueling windows. 

Today, a truck can only recoup approximately 50 miles in that time frame, whereas it would need to add on somewhere around 150 miles in a long haul use case. 

What’s needed for MCS to be successful?

  1. The standard

The industry is currently split between two different charging standards: the North American Charging Standard (NACS), used by Tesla, and the Combined Charging System (CCS), used by everyone else. 

A standardized charging method that builds uniformity across OEMs and technology providers is considered crucial as charging technology evolves. CharIN, the organization leading the standardization process, is therefore building off of CCS to create a singular MCS standard for heavy-duty EVs, buses, airplanes, and marine vessels. MCS should eventually reach up to 3.75 MW at 3,000A

CharIN says that manufacturers are now in the prototyping phase, but “the challenge is to agree and to align this big community,” according to Chairman Claas Bracklo. There are sometimes different interests of parties and somebody has an advantage by slowing that down.”

  1. The chargers

With prototypes and demo projects already underway, the general expectation is that chargers beginning around 700 kW will become commercially available in the next 1-2 years. 1 MW and beyond should come sometime around 2027. 

  1. The vehicles

Advancements in charging technology alone are insufficient to bring MCS into the mainstream. The vehicles themselves also require batteries that can handle a higher charge speed. Most HD BEVs today can handle anywhere between 120 to 250 kW, depending on the model. Only the Tesla Semi can handle up to 750 kW. 

ABB E-mobility and MAN Truck & Bus recently teamed up to successfully use MCS to charge an EV truck, achieving more than 700 kW and 1,000 A of power and charging the truck from 10% to 80% in 30 minutes.

  1. The power

Even today, power constraints are already hampering rapid EV charging infrastructure development at scale. The introduction of MCS is yet another indicator of how much power will be required in order for the EV transition to scale. According to PwC, the average total annual EV load in the U.S. could increase by 1850% between 2023 and 2040 — equivalent to the total amount of electricity generated annually in Texas.

Terawatt’s Use of MCS

Terawatt is building all of its charging sites in a way that will facilitate a transition to MCS as soon as it becomes available — and as soon as there are trucks on the roads that can handle that higher level of charge. 

We look forward to working with charger and vehicle OEMs to get the latest technology up and running as quickly as possible. If you have any questions about current or future charging capacity at any of our sites, simply click here to get in touch with our team!