Ford To Offer SAE Quick Charge On Their Plug-Ins. Just Not Right Now, As Infrastructure Not Yet Viable

4 years ago by Jay Cole 14

2013 Ford Fusion Gets A Charge

2013 Ford Fusion Gets A Charge

After an extended news hiatus when it came to commercial and public charging infrastruture in the United States, we got a couple very big announcements in a very short period of time last week:

These announcements gave us an opportunity to talk to some of the larger players in the segment, to see what they were up to when it came to their vehicles and charging standards.  For the most part, this was mostly standard/known fare:

A Nissan LEAF Can Get A 80% Quick Charge In About 30 Mins (click to enlarge)

A Nissan LEAF Can Get A 80% Quick Charge In About 30 Mins (click to enlarge)

Nissan was moving the LEAF up to 6.6 kW charging (SV/SL), and was aggressively supporting the adoption of the CHAdeMO DC fast charging standard into the US.

At the same time, GM was firing the first shot back at Nissan (and CHAdeMO) by making the new fast charging SAE Combo plug an option on their upcoming Spark EV (default is 3.3 kW); while keeping the standard 3.3 kW charge rate for the Chevrolet Volt/Cadillac ELR, until at least when the platform gets upgrated in a couple years time.

But what of Ford?  We know the Focus Electric charges at 6.6 kW and the Fusion/C-Max Energi at 3.3 kW, but no quick charging was available.

Although Ford offically endorsed the SAE fast charging standard when it was announced (along with Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, GM, Porsche and Volkswagen), since that time, we have heard very little from them about actually implementing fast charging of any kind.

In the face of so much competition from Nissan with CHAdeMO in the US, was Ford still on board?

Ford could potentially be one of the largest sellers of plug-in EVs in the US this year with 3 seperate offerings, one of which being an all electric vehicle.  Is Ford planning on offering fast charging on any of their vehicles?  If so, when will it happen?  And why hasn’t it happened already?

6.6 kW Of Juice Coming Up...But No Quick Charging Option Available

6.6 kW Of Juice Coming Up…But No Quick Charging Option Available On The All Electric Focus

We talked to Mike Tinskey, global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure at Ford, and he tells us that the company not only still supports the standard, but plans on implenting it in their cars…someday.

“We are supportive of the SAE DC Combo standard, and will be offering it in the future – but haven’t disclosed the specifics.”

Mike also explains why fast charging is important, and why Ford ended up backing SAE’s new Combo standard:

“We believe that having the ability to quickly charge your battery not only provides a real benefit of extending your electric range – but also a psychological impact that allows drivers to drive further knowing they have a safety net. Fast charging also provides a solution for some drivers that don’t have access to a garage or a regular charge spot (like a multi-family dwelling). Additionally, the communication protocol that we agreed to on the DC combo coupled with the DC connector allows for some advanced features like V2H, V2G, and utility communications.”

On the challenges behind any fast charging proposition today, and why perhaps it still doesn’t make sense to offer quick charging on their products now:

“The challenge that is top of mind for the industry is to find a viable business case for fast charge infrastructure. Currently, the daytime electricity costs (peak demand charge from utilities), coupled with the costs of hardware and equipment installation provide for a challenging business case – especially if the charge stations are only used occasionally. We believe that new models will emerge to overcome this issue that we can share if interested.”‘

Mr. Tinskey also gave us Ford’s opinion on Nissan and NRG’s unexpectedly forward approach to building out fast charging infrastructure in the US:

“Relative to the NRG announcement with Nissan – we are hopeful that NRG considers “dual” output fast chargers that support both DC Combo/Chademo. This is the framework that was agreed on for the NRG/State of California settlement. Currently, a majority of the automotive OEM’s have declared that they will support DC Combo and we know that EVSE manufacturers are currently UL certifying DC Combo fast chargers to support deployment. Three automotive OEM’s have publicly declared the production dates for DC Combo product, and you’ll see the first this summer – so this should start the trend.”

Our thanks to Mr. Tinskey and public relations rep at Ford, Kristine Relja

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14 responses to "Ford To Offer SAE Quick Charge On Their Plug-Ins. Just Not Right Now, As Infrastructure Not Yet Viable"

  1. evnow says:

    “We believe that new models will emerge to overcome this issue that we can share if interested”

    Yes, I’d be interested !

    Apparently Ford’s plan is to beg NRG to install dual output QC.

  2. taser54 says:

    Whelp, Ford dropped the ball here. No DC fast charging possibility? Not even as an option? No Sale.

    I bet the real situation is that Ford’s batteries rapidly degrade with DC fast charging.

    1. Bloggin says:

      Ford stated it’s coming in the future. But since there is no real infrastructure, there is no hurry. My guess is that it will be an option for the 2014 Focus Electric.

      1. Brian says:

        yeah, and then in 2015, when the infrastructure starts appearing, all those 2012-2013 owners will be SOL. Cars typically last 10-20 years. If we don’t see infrastructure by then, we never will.

  3. Brian says:

    Chicken and Egg problem? Sure, we’ll be part of that!

  4. Bloggin says:

    It seems Nissan made the mistake of installing a fast charging protocol on their cars, before there was infrastructure or a standard. Now they are stuck trying to defend their wrong way choice.

    It reminds me of Sony blazing their own path with Betamax, and a year later, left thousands of owners with equipment that was not compatible with the ‘standard’…VHS.

    I see Nissan going down that same path.

    2013 was an opportunity for Nissan to correct their mistake.

    My guess is that the 2014 Focus Electric will come with a DC Fast Charger option, following the official standard.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Nothing specific from Ford, but I get the impression/vibe that it will be more like the 2015s (fall of 2014) before might see it.

    2. evnow says:

      Bloggin, unless you are personally financing all those quick chargers, none of them are going to magically appear. So, no, Nissan doesn’t need to correct their “mistake”.

    3. Future Leaf Driver says:

      “It seems Nissan made the mistake of installing a fast charging protocol on their cars” – Since when is a company offering vehicle options a bad thing? At least Nissan can be credited for getting the fast charge EV standard rolling since Ford won’t have it done until 2015. I guess the 2013 Focus EV will ALWAYS be tethered to a 50-60 mile leash unlike all Nissan LEAFs which can travel the I-5 all on electric.

      As Josh pointed out below – “IMO, DC charging is a must have on a “100 mile” EV, or any BEV for that matter.” – Exactly, what’s the point in buying any EV have doesn’t have that feature?? Per Brian, Focus EV owners are SOL indeed!

  5. Josh says:

    It seems Ford didn’t plan for DC charging in their battery pack, otherwise it would be pretty cheap/easy to at least make it optional equipment on the FFE. That is real surprising since they also point out that they helped write/revise the standard.

    IMO, DC charging is a must have on a “100 mile” EV, or any BEV for that matter.

    1. Brian says:

      Ford has been behind the curve when it comes to EVs, so I’m not surprised at all. They rushed their Gen1 FFE to market, at a time when the SAE was still working on DC charging. I suspect it will be in the “Gen2” version – probably to arrive around 2015.

  6. vdiv says:

    If J1772 can support 80A, 240V charging, EVSEs are installed with such capacity, and EVs have such a charger on board then DC charging is not as critical. At this power an EV can charge at 50-60 miles/hour. That is not too shabby.

  7. BlindGuy says:

    How much will it cost to use quick charge stations? IMO if level 2 & L3 charging is not priced competitively with = gas prices they will only be used by the truly desperate BEV owner. On the other hand, if 120v outlets or SAE standard charge chords are made available at more work places threw tax incentives I think many more people would consider EVs, especially mild PHEVs. EVs owners know that home and workplace are the 2 top priority charge locations JMO.

  8. GSP says:

    Three automotive OEM’s have publicly declared the production dates for DC Combo

    What are the OEMs and dates? GM’s Spark EV is the only one I have heard of so far.

    GSP