Brisbane-based fast charger manufacturer Tritium has partnered with ReCharge Alaska to deploy an RT50 DC fast charger in the small Alaskan town of Cantwell, the only fast charging location listed on PlugShare between the cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage, two of the largest urban areas in Alaska.
Alaska is probably not the first place in the world that springs to mind when considering electric vehicle adoption, but a report from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Center for Energy and Power published earlier this year showed that EV ownership doubled between 2018 and 2020, to nearly 1,600 registered vehicles across the state.
As such, Alaska is not without its EV chargers – though, unsurprisingly, they are limited to the state’s more populous areas, in the city of Anchorage and its neighbouring areas. Anchorage is home to 40% of Alaska’s population, which numbers below 750,000, and is generally restricted to a relatively small portion of the state.
The new EV DC fast charger, then, is well positioned to serve the route between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the state’s third-largest city, as well as providing access to the nearby Denali National Park and Preserve.
Temperatures in Cantwell can drop to -42 degrees Celsius (-45 degrees Fahrenheit).
That was why ReCharge Alaska paired with Tritium, whose chargers – while normally rated for temperatures as low as -35 degrees Celsius – are adaptable.
To meet the needs of ReCharge Alaska and the potentially frigid conditions of Cantwell, Tritium modified the glycol to water mixture in the liquid coolant of one of its RT50 DC fast chargers so as to have a storage temperature of -53 degrees Celsius (-65 degrees Fahrenheit).
And, to further help matters, ReCharge Alaska is planning to build an enclosure for the charger with a 1kW heater which will turn on when the temperatures reach -33 degrees Celsius (-28 degrees Fahrenheit) so as to better protect the charger.
As can be seen in the image below, however, Cantwell is somewhat less of a town and more of a convenient stretch of land – in fact, it is known as a census-designated place (CDP) and is part of the Denali Borough of Alaska. An enclosure, then, will probably be for the best.
“We are proud to showcase Tritium’s ability to deliver DC chargers that are uniquely adaptable to the extreme cold that can be experienced across Alaska’s vast landscape, while bringing charging solutions to parts of the country with limited EV infrastructure,” said Mike Calise, President of Americas at Tritium.
“ReCharge Alaska is truly passionate about promoting electric mobility, and we are excited to provide convenient and fast charging to Alaska’s EV drivers.”
“This is an important milestone for the state of Alaska as we have seen significant growth in EV adoption here,” said Kris Hall, CEO at ReCharge Alaska.
“Our goal is to open up Alaska and advance the EV transformation through the deployment of DC fast chargers. We believe that Tritium is the ideal partner for this project as their chargers are highly adaptable and built to be deployed in places with frigid temperatures.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.