GM And BMW Join Forces To Complete Testing On DC “Combo” Fast Charge Stations (w/video)

4 years ago by Jay Cole 27

GM And BMW Want You To Choose This Option For Your Next Fast Charging EV Purchase

GM And BMW Want You To Choose This Option For Your Next Fast Charging EV Purchase

Anyone For A DC Fast Charge?  Not Quite Yet...But Soon

Anyone For A DC Fast Charge? Not Quite Yet…But Soon

Teams of engineers from both BMW and General Motors combined forces to complete testing on the new SAE fast charging stations that will be going into effect late in 2013.

The goal of the co-operative effort was to ensure conformity of DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations to the SAE standards.

“Our goal with this cooperation was to ensure that DC fast charging  stations be available to provide BMW i customers the premium fast  charging experience in time for the arrival of the BMW i3s,” commented  Cliff Fietzek Manager connected e-Mobility at BMW of North America,  LLC. “We are pleased that we will meet our goal.”

Cutting through the press release jargon (which you can read for yourself below from both companies), the event consisted of GM rolling up in a pre-production Spark EV, with BMW bringing along a new production-intent i3 to take charges from four major EVSE manufacturers committed to selling the new SAE standard.  (ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton and IES)

All four of the suppliers machines performed well, and charged both the Spark EV and the BMW i3 to at least 80% in about 20 minutes.  The SAE “Combo” systems tested can give out charges up to 90 kW at 450 volts.

Eight-ish manufacturers  (if you like to double count sub-brands) have backed the new standard – BMW, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche.

Of interest, the Spark EV which was to be the first production electric car to be introduced to accept the Combo DC  Fast Charge, has had that option delayed until later this year, and now the i3 looks to take that honor as the BMW will have that functionality from day one.

The BMW i3 is slated to first go on sale on November 16th, while the Spark EV priced at $27,495, is just now landing at California Chevy dealers with only the 120/240 charging available to purchase.  GM says that the “DC Fast Charge option is expected to be available a few months after the Spark EV launches.”

GM also put together a little video to mark the occasion (press releases from BMW & GM below):

Combined Charging System (click to enlarge)

Combined Charging System (click to enlarge)

BMW PRESS RELEASE:

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 11, 2013… Engineers from  BMW AG and General Motors recently passed a milestone in the adoption  of the new Society of Automotive Engineers industry standard for DC  Fast Charging.  Teams from both companies worked jointly to ensure the  conformity of DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations developed by various  suppliers to the SAE standard by charging pre-production versions of  the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Spark EV.

This industry-coordinated early confirmation of DC Fast Charge  hardware and software will accelerate efforts to roll out SAE Combo DC  Fast Charge infrastructure in the coming months.  Among the suppliers  who participated in the testing were ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton and IES.

“Our goal with this cooperation was to ensure that DC fast charging  stations be available to provide BMW i customers the premium fast  charging experience in time for the arrival of the BMW i3s,” commented  Cliff Fietzek Manager connected e-Mobility at BMW of North America,  LLC. “We are pleased that we will meet our goal.”

“This unprecedented cooperation among OEMs and equipment suppliers  demonstrates the maturity of this important technology that will help  speed the adoption of electric vehicles around the world,” said Britta  Gross, Director, Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy at General Motors.

Just as the majority of the world’s major automakers adopted the  SAE’s 120V/240V AC connector standard to assure plug-in vehicles could  access all charging infrastructure regardless of vehicle make or  model, auto manufacturers (including BMW, General Motors, Ford Motor  Company, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) have  committed to adopting the SAE combo fast charge connector, which  assures standardization of the DC Fast Charge connectors.

This new combined AC and DC charging, or combo, connector provides  added ease of use for DC Fast Charging, including a single charge port  on the vehicle, and allows electricity to flow at a faster rate,  making EVs more convenient to use for consumers who may not otherwise  have convenient access overnight to charging at home.  Using DC Fast  Charging, EV owners could recharge their batteries up to 80 percent in  less than 20 minutes.

“This successful testing is an important milestone that underscores  our commitment to enable the next generation of electric  vehicles,” noted Cal Lankton, Director of ABB’s EV Charging  Infrastructure for North America. “By offering a broad charging  portfolio, we can fully support the needs of all EV drivers and  infrastructure providers”.

The first vehicles to offer the new SAE Combo DC Fast Charge  connector will be the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Spark EV.  DC Fast  Charge is expected to be available when the BMW i3 launches in the US.

 

Chevrolet Spark EV Will Be The First (Or Maybe The Second) Production EV To Accept A SAE "Combo" Charge

Chevrolet Spark EV Will Be The First (Or Maybe The Second) Production EV To Accept A SAE “Combo” Charge

GM PRESS RELEASE:

WARREN, Mich. – Following several days of joint testing, General Motors and BMW AG engineers are confident that DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations from several suppliers will consistently allow an electric vehicle to take on an 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes.

The first electric vehicles expected to benefit from the Society of Automotive Engineers new industry standard for DC fast charging are the Chevrolet Spark EV and the BMW i3.

This industry-coordinated early confirmation of DC Fast Charge hardware and software will accelerate efforts to roll out SAE Combo DC Fast Charge infrastructure in the coming months.  Among the suppliers participating in the testing were ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton and IES.

“This unprecedented cooperation among OEMs and equipment suppliers demonstrates the maturity of this important technology that will help speed the adoption of electric vehicles around the world,” said Britta Gross, GM director, advanced vehicle commercialization policy.

Just as most major automakers adopted the SAE’s 120V/240V AC connector standard to assure plug-in vehicles could access all charging infrastructure, eight automakers – GM   Ford,, Chrysler, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche – have committed to adopting the SAE combo fast charge connector, assuring standardization of the DC Fast Charge connectors.

“Our goal with this cooperation was to ensure that DC fast charging stations be available to provide BMW i3 customers the premium fast charging experience in time for the arrival of the BMW i3,” said Cliff Fietzek, manager connected e-Mobility at BMW of North America LLC. “We are pleased that we will meet our goal.”

This new combined AC and DC charging, or combo, connector provides added ease of use for DC Fast Charging, including a single charge port on the vehicle, and allows electricity to flow at a faster rate, making EVs more convenient and reliable to use for consumers who may not  have  access to overnight charging at home.  DC Fast Charging allows EV owners to recharge their batteries up to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes.

“This successful testing is an important milestone that underscores our commitment to enable the next generation of electric vehicles,” said Cal Lankton, director of ABB’s EV Charging Infrastructure for North America. “By offering a broad charging portfolio, we can fully support the needs of all EV drivers and infrastructure providers.”

The DC Fast Charge option is expected to be available a few months after the Spark EV launches in California and Oregon this summer.

Hat tip to George K for some info

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27 responses to "GM And BMW Join Forces To Complete Testing On DC “Combo” Fast Charge Stations (w/video)"

  1. evnow says:

    “The goal of the co-operative effort was to ensure conformity …”

    I thought the goal was to delay EV adoption ?!

    1. David Murray says:

      Indeed. If they wanted conformity they’d just use Chademo.

      1. Roy_H says:

        Chademo is such a cludge, bigger, many more pins (smaller and easier to damage) and DC only. You can have it, not me.

        1. io says:

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kludge
          I’d think that this definition matches much more accurately some J1772 or Mennekes plug with extra contacts glued at the bottom and some of its other lines repurposed, than a connector designed from the get-go for high-current DC with all this implies, especially a proper locking mechanism.

          I don’t think that the number of pins matters all that much, but if it does to anyone: CHAdeMO has 9, the US variant of SAE CCS has 7 and its European counterpart has 9.

          1. Taser54 says:

            I have to disagree with you again. The CHAdeMO plug can’t charge at AC levels so it requires vehicles to have two sockets on a car, increasing the manufacturing costs.

            http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/09/02/automobiles/02chademo-pic/02chademo-pic-popup.jpg

            1. io says:

              Is this another talking point straight off the SAE press release, or can you back this up with any number?

              If this is any indication, the CHAdeMO option on the 2011 Leaf was 700$ at the time, pretty inexpensive given the required extra hefty wiring, contactor and electronics.
              I have no reason to think that a CCS implementation, which really only “saves” portion of the J1772 connector by reusing it, but call for slightly more complex electronics to do so, would be any cheaper.

            2. io says:

              Just thought of another aspect: development costs and logistics.
              A vehicle equipped with CHAdeMO can be sold today worldwide without modification. Easy.

              SAE CCS already has two variants, US and Europe. There is no Japanese version, so vehicles targeted for that market also will need a CHAdeMO option.

              American automakers surely don’t care (besides Tesla, they’re unlikely to export to Japan), but understandably Japanese ones have a very different opinion, and that explains why all of them rejected SAE’s proposal.

              Call me cynical but I bet that’s exactly SAE’s agenda: try and make the life of competitors more difficult with minimum hassle to their own member$ (who still have zero quick-charge-capable EV anyway, and don’t plan on selling any in significant volume for the foreseeable future), and never mind that the general public will suffer from the confusion this intentionally creates, including prolonging the USA’s addiction to oil and all its consequences (financial, foreign policy, public health, etc).

        2. Josh says:

          The same can be said for SAE vs. Tesla connector.

  2. Warren says:

    Yes. What a crock.

    1. Roy_H says:

      I think you have no idea what you are talking about. The SAE system is a vast improvement over the Chademo, and is also the basis for Tesla’s supercharger. Tesla’s advantage is that they combined the AC and DC pins to one pair to make a smaller connector, and they use the same communications protocol.

      1. io says:

        I beg to differ. First, SAE’s CCS certainly can’t be the basis for Tesla’s, as it came, what, one or two years later?
        It doesn’t use the same communication protocol either, merely the mechanism or medium, PLC, of which there are a many variations.

        Next, did SAE CCS actually improve _anything_ over CHAdeMO?
        * Ease of use: connector is narrower but quite a bit taller (10 to 11cm vs 7cm) and very asymmetric. I’d say no.
        * Charging speed: both designs max out at 200A, 500V. No improvement there either.
        * Communication reliability: HomePlug PLC (designed for consumer, residential applications) vs CAN (designed for harsh industrial and automotive environments; used in all modern cars). Big step backwards if you ask me.
        * User safety: CCS doesn’t mandate galvanic isolation, CHAdeMO does (along with leakage detection on both input and output to verify then back up its integrity). This makes CCS chargers inherently and intrinsically less safe.

        1. Taser54 says:

          You are incorrect The SAE signaling protocol is the same as the J1772 protocol which was approved in 2001, revised in 2009, and further utilized with the SAE DC fast charge standard of 2012. Tesla participated in the 2009 SAE protocol revision with GM.

          1. io says:

            You are confusing regular SAE J1772, and the SAE DC addition to J1772, SAE CCS for lack of a better name. Both use very different signalling.

            The PLC variant that SAE CCS uses only appeared in 2011.

  3. bloggin says:

    The SAE Smarter/Faster Combo Charging infrastructure build out has begun.

    The number of automakers already committed to the American Standard is an even longer list:

    GM (Chevy, Buick, Cadillac)
    Ford (Ford, Lincoln)
    Chrysler(Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram)
    BMW (BMW, Mini, Rolls Royce)
    Daimler (Mercedes Benz, Smart)
    VW (VW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley)
    Tesla (via adapter)

    Toyota, Honda and Mitsubishi will soon follow by 2014/15

    Nissan should be converting over to the American SAE Standard about the same time with the next gen Leaf.

    Then there is China, who rejected the idea of using the Japanese standard. Mainly because they hate the Japanese. And it looks like they will also be adopting the Combo Charger based on and excerpt from the 2012 US-China SAE Standards Workshop:

    “SAE and CATARC, the two largest automotive organizations in US and China have established a long-term strategic cooperation since 2006 to serve the China automotive industry.”

    1. evnow says:

      “The SAE Smarter/Faster Combo Charging infrastructure build out has begun.”

      Really, where ?

      BTW, Toyota is a member of CHAdeMO as well.

    2. Suprise Cat says:

      The Smart ED has no CCS port and all the other cars don’t exist.

    3. Future Leaf Driver says:

      Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!

      Nice try Mr. Leach but crystal ball predictions don’t work, only the facts!

      Lol..!!!!!!!!

  4. Airton says:

    I guess a CHAdeMO to SAE Combo adapter would be very useful until the dust settles from this battle. There are 3 DC fast chargers within a 100 mile radius from me and I am hoping to use them once my BMW i3/REx arrives…

    1. Taser54 says:

      It doesn’t work that way. The signal protocols for each standard are different.

    2. That’s probably not going to happen Airton. Such adaptor would be VERY expensive(think thousands of dollars). What is much more likely to occur is the existing CHAdeMO stations get upgraded to dual connector units and newly installed units will have the dual connectors right from the start.

      1. Taser54 says:

        Is there a reliable number out there for US leafs with CHAdeMO? Also, what portion of Leafs with CHAdeMO are leased? I would think that allegiance to CHAdeMO might not be as strong as asserted due to the nature of EV owners to lease rather than buy and not be tied into the standard wars.

        1. io says:

          The CHAdeMO association claims that over 89’000 EVs, or 80% of them worldwide, are equipped with such a port. http://www.chademo.com/

          While I don’t have a way to verify this, this proportion seems very plausible, even conservative, at least in the US. The EV project refunded the 700$ option on 2011 Leafs, and taking it was a precondition for the free charging station + installation they are/were offering. This condition remained with the 2012, except the 2012 SL had CHAdeMO standard, and according to a dealer last year, 90%+ of what they sold was this version.

          I don’t think that whether a car is leased matters at all. It wont magically disappear at the end of the lease, merely maybe change owner.

  5. Dave K. says:

    JUST PICK SOMETHING! and everybody use it, differing standards cause people trouble. If you want to slow EV adoption this is the way, when you drive your BMW to a fast charger and can’t plug it in it doesn’t help. I personally think any of these connectors are fine, we got by with NEMA and Anderon connectors for decades, plugging in a car is not really all that different, all of these new systems are much safer and more reliable.

    1. Taser54 says:

      Well, the vast majority of North American and European Manufacturers have chosen the SAE combo charger to be the standard. It is now up to commercial charging stations providers to install SAE combo chargers.

  6. I think this could become a real problem. AC fast chargers are rolling out in Europe, mostly for now for use by the Renault ZOE. Could the BMW i3 end up fast charging by DC in the US (via SAE), and by AC in Europe (via Mennekes Type 2)? What a mess.

  7. Danpatgal says:

    Even though I have an iMiev with Chademo, I definitely like the idea of having a combination port, even if a little bigger, for both normal J1772 plugs and the newer (probably won’t see for 2 years – but …) combo fast charging plugs. It makes more sense to me. In the end, I guess if the US and German automakers do it, despite the 50-60k Leafs out there with with Chademo, my bet is the combo plug will win this battle. Thankfully, all EV’s will be still quite usable with what should be a proliferation of level 1 and 2 chargers that all EVs will be able to use. That’s not a bad standard to start with.

  8. scottf200 says:

    The “Combined Charging System” graphic above states “DC to home”. Anyone know what that is or have a reference to it?