Compleo launch offers greater flexibility for EV charging

EV charging manufacturer Compleo has launched the eTower 200, which it hopes will offer greater flexibility and increased charging uptimes for the UK’s charge point operator (CPO) network.

The eTower 200 promises 200 kw ultra-fast charging for two vehicles simultaneously, with seven onboard power modules each capable of delivering up to 920 watts and 72 amps. The silicon carbide modules are designed as a built-in redundancy, to ensure continual charging at greater than 96% efficiency. Its dynamic system reacts to the specific charging situation, directing power as required.

As he introduced the high-power charger to a room full of stakeholders from service engineers to charge point operators and electricity suppliers, Compleo CEO Joerg Lohr described a situation he had personally experienced: driving his EV away from home with three young children in the back, only 14km of charge left and finding the charge point out of order. He recognised the anxiety situations like this can cause drivers.

“I always tell the team, ‘we are not selling a piece of hardware to the CPOs, we are selling uptime availability and reliability’,” he said, highlighting that with Compleo coming under the ownership of the Kostal Group last August, this marked a new chapter for the company and “we are super convinced that in the future we can provide you even better products”.

Compleo believes the eTower represents a significant innovation in the EV charging market. With Kostal being the market leader for in-car power electronics, and with around 50% of cars including Tesla and Rivian having a Kostal onboard charger, it effectively gives them ownership of both ends of the charging cable.

To ensure the eTower is user friendly with an intuitive interface, Compleo sent its engineers to drive EVs for a weekend and feedback their charging experiences, as well as interviewing 100 EV drivers for their insights.

Design features

The resulting charger aims to solve many of their issues, but also to make practical sense for CPOs, who should benefit from design features that make installation simpler. With a pre-installed wire hub, the unit can be lowered down by forklift directly onto the hub, removing any need for cranes or complicated wiring processes.

For carpark operators the eTower has an attractive 2m height and slimline design making it ideal for areas where space is at a premium, with the smallest surface area of any charger in its class. External LED strips make the unit visible from a distance at night and also act as charge indicators. An air ventilation system keeps it quieter than similar units, measuring at just 55dB at 1metre distance, making it practical for residential use as well.

Compleo can start shipping units out to customers from May, so in the interim will focus on the training of service suppliers to ensure they can perform installs and maintenance. Lohr calls the air ventilation system a USP and says that keeping it separate from the electronic components ensures they remain unaffected by dust and humidity, making the units more robust.

Answering questions around uptime for commercial fleets, Lohr pointed to their unique position in the market and their vigorous testing process. “With Kostal in the background we have an almost unlimited access to automotive standards, testing and validation,” he said. “To give you an example, international standards ask you to do a 500 hour life cycle test on the power module before you get the certification. We did 10 times 1000 hours, plus 1000 hours on the entire system,” he explained, revealing the company’s confidence in the unit’s reliability, offering an extended warranty. They understand ease of maintenance is important and believe that the front opening unit which allows access to all components, and the ability to slide power units out for easy replacement will minimise servicing and maintenance downtimes.

Compleo’s ultimate aim is to improve the EV customer charging experience whilst delivering a more robust infrastructure. They hope the eTower 200 will set new benchmarks in ultra-fast charging.

Compleo’s Head of Marketing & Comms in the UK, Clare Nicol, believes the charger can be part of the collaborative effort to progress the UK towards greater EV use and net zero targets. Speaking to Elemental Digital at the launch she said, “Everyone in this room is working hard, doing their bit to create a safe, effective and efficient network of EV chargers across the UK to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles and give them the infrastructure they need to improve their driving experience. We believe the eTower 200 can play a big part in making that happen.”