An electric vehicle charger than can generate its own power using a hydrogen cell, and work even where there is no mains electricity, has been launched.

What is claimed to be the world’s first electric vehicle charger based on hydrogen fuel-cell technology has been unveiled by AFC Energy.

The demonstration of AFC Energy’s CH2ARGE system took place at Dunsfold Aerodrome, and saw a BMW i8 become the first ever car to be recharged with power generated by a hydrogen fuel cell.

CH2ARGE includes AFC Energy’s small-scale fuel cell connected to an inverter similar to those used by Toyota at its Electric Vehicle research centre. The inverter transfers energy created by the fuel cell to a charger. The system is supported by a 48V battery pack to assist with peak power demands.

The demonstration CH2ARGE system was sized to provide sufficient power to charge two EVs concurrently at recharging levels 1,2 or 3.

AFC Energy says the solution can be tailored for both on- and off-grid applications, and could deliver locally-generated electricity, taking the strain of charging electric vehicles off the national grid.

“By 2030, it is estimated that there could be nine million electric vehicles on the roads of Britain, up from 90,000 today,” said Adam Bond, chief executive officer at AFC Energy.

“For this transition, we need charging stations to be embedded throughout the country, as well as seeking innovative solutions to overcome the severe limitations of centrally generated electricity.

“By developing and demonstrating the effectiveness of our hydrogen fuel cell in the application of EV charging, AFC Energy has shown it is ready to lead the way not only in solving the challenges of increased demand for electricity, but also doing so in a truly zero emissions approach.”

AFC Energy is looking to enter into discussions with partners and suppliers for the production of its CH2ARGE scalable EV Charge systems for commercial deployment.