The Megawatt Charging System (MCS) DC fast charging connector for heavy-duty vehicles is just around the corner in North America.
Following the global premiere at the EVS35 in Oslo, Norway in May 2022, earlier this month the MCS was officially launched by the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN) at an interoperability testing event at DTNA Electric Island in Portland, Oregon.
The location is not accidental, as this is where Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) and Portland General Electric (PGE) opened a heavy-duty electric truck charging site in 2021. It was initially equipped only with CCS Combo 1 plugs, but now also has the MCS prototypes.
CharIN noted that it was the first opportunity when a dozen medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (Class 6-8) were tested for interoperability.
Nearly 300 attendees, and industry experts, including global automotive manufacturers, charging station companies, component suppliers, energy providers, government officials, research institutes, influencers, and grid operators, gathered at the Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) headquarters in Portland, where then Electric Island is located.
The Megawatt Charging System (MCS) is designed for a maximum current of 3,000 A (3 kA) at up to 1,250 V (1.25 kV), which means a potential 3,750 kW (3.75 MW) of peak power. That's an order of magnitude more than the 350-500 kW of the CCS Combo connector, which was used as a base for the MCS development.
Having such a high power output (probably around 1 MW in standard configuration) is crucial to support the rollout of the heavy-duty all-electric vehicles. Those large EVs are equipped with a very big battery packs (at least a few hundred of kWh) and, to charge in a reasonable time of 20-60 minutes, they need much higher power than regular electric cars.
According to ABB, the first pilot project with MCS will be deployed in 2023, while commercial release is expected in 2024.
This is probably the realistic time frame when we will see the start of regular installations of MCS chargers along major highways.