Nissan Joins BMW In Meeting With Tesla To Discuss Universal Charging Network

JUN 16 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 60

Nissan LEAF

Nissan LEAF

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The three mega powers in the plug-in vehicle industry have come together to discuss something that forever may change the electric vehicle segment.

Nissan, BMW and Tesla are reportedly in discussions to cooperate on charging networks.  Details on the precise aspects of these discussions are unknown at this time, but Financial Times is reporting (via undisclosed inside sources) that Nissan has joined the party.

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that BMW met secretly (more details on this meeting to come soon) with Tesla to discuss various electric vehicle topics of interest, including charging networks.

But now we get word that Nissan, the world leader in electric vehicles, is in on the action too.  Per Financial Times’ undisclosed Nissan source:

“Nissan welcomes any initiative to expand the volumes of electric vehicles.  Nissan is the market leader in EVs and has worked with other manufacturers to help proliferate the technology.”

Quoting Financial Times:

“Nissan, BMW and Tesla are keen to collaborate on creating possible global vehicle-charging standards, the sources said.”

BMW i3 Gets CHAdeMO Charged In Japan

BMW i3 Gets CHAdeMO Charged In Japan

“It is obviously clear that everyone would benefit if there was a far more simple way for everyone to charge their cars,” said one executive, who declined to be named as the plans are not yet official.

Tesla’s stance is that all automakers need to adopt a single, universal fast-charge standard.  Of course, Tesla believes that standard should be the Supercharger, but the automaker is likely open to other solutions too.  Per Musk:

“It is obviously clear that everyone would benefit if there was a far more simple way for everyone to charge their cars.”

In time, we should get details on what’s being collectively discussed between BMW, Nissan and Tesla.  The details will, of course, be of extreme importance to us.  However, even without those details, just hearing that BMW, Nissan and Tesla have met to discuss an aspect of electric vehicles is monumental.

When/if the world’s three plug-in vehicle mega powers unite, the entire electric vehicle industry will be forever changed.  Surely in a positive way.

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla Supercharger

Source: Financial Times

Categories: BMW, Nissan, Tesla

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

60 Comments on "Nissan Joins BMW In Meeting With Tesla To Discuss Universal Charging Network"

newest oldest most voted
IDK

Great news! Excited to see where this goes.

“Today, a new EV consortium introduces a fourth world standard for fast charging…”

/I kidd

Boyd

that would be awful for everyone. I think Tesla has basically said, “here, use ours”

Taser54

Tesla had the opportunity to help develop the SAE standard and instead left the table. Tesla had the opportunity to adopt Chademo and did not.

How exactly is Tesla going to convince others to join with it if it is only on Tesla’s terms?

I think their charging network and the smaller port design are their only cards.

Until we have a nationwide, 135kW, Chademo/SAE charging network, Tesla is ahead of the game.

Everyone, including most automakers, seem to be biding their time to see how it all plays out. Nissan, being that they don’t have a PHEV, makes perfect sense for them to get on the Supercharger bandwagon. A 150 mile Nissan Leaf becomes so much more functional if you have access to a SC network.

Mint

They have the superior solution. That’s why.

50-62kW is sufficient to quick-charge short range EVs, because limited C-rates prevent them from being able to use more power anyway.

But once we see 200-mile EVs from several automakers at sub-$40k, Tesla will have an enormous advantage over its competitors. Not only will Tesla have cheaper batteries from the gigafactory, but its supercharger network will have almost full coverage by then, and it charges over twice as fast as Chademo/SAE.

Cooperation will eliminate two of those advantages.

Nix

The SAE standard for DC fast charging wasn’t scheduled to be complete until August 2012, and the first production Model S was built and delivered 3 months before that. So that was never an option. Too little, too late.

CHAdeMO is a proprietary format, that Tesla would have to license from the Japanese, and would never have input into changing. So that one is a non-starter.

I don’t see any way around them abandoning the SAE DC fast charging standard that wasn’t going to be ready until at least a year after they needed it (they would have needed SAE connectors for validation testing way back in 2011 at the very latest.)

But like always, Taser54, don’t let the facts get in the way of your usual anti-Tesla ranting.

Anon

+1

Get Real

That’s why I call him Tesla-Hater#54.

Spec9

Because Tesla really thought it through and built the most useful system.

If battery prices really do fall, the 50KW charger systems will seem completely obsolete in view of 135KW chargers on the Supercharger network.

mike w

well yes it is on Tesla’s terms. they have the supercharger network They also have an adaptor for their cars to use the CHAdeMO compliant fast chargers. So it benefits the other players to cooperate with Tesla. Tesla already supports their system and CHAdeMO. Once battery size increase in the “other” brands it will obvious that CHAdeMO and CCS are too slow.

GSP

Jay,

You kidd, but a fourth standard is the most likely outcome, I think.

In the future, charging rates faster than 100-135 kW will need to be accommodated by a standard plug. CHAdeMo, SAE Combo, and Tesla standards will not be enough.

Therefore they will have to use the Chinese standard plug or develop a new standard. I think the latter is the most likely.

GSP

pjwood

http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/cars/tesla-bmw-executives-meet-to-discuss-electric-car-expansion-1.8436795

IEV, Wasn’t there also recent BMW disclosure of financial interest in L3 deployment, that you mentioned someplace? Read-yes they are serious.

Anon

Interesting times. 🙂

If the global EV industry players can get their act together, maybe the other automakers will join in, too?

Let me know when anyone representing VW Group, also joins in these talks…

George B

Hallelujah!

IDK

I’ve also read that Mazda is also interested in talking with Tesla? That would be a huge surprise since it was thought Mazda didn’t really care about EV’s at this time or in the forseeable future. Does this indicate that Mazda has an EV getting ready for release?

Aaron

The Mazda Demio (Mazda2) has EV test mules for several years, albeit only in Japan.

Jesse Gurr

With one of those Demios with a rotary range extender. I like that idea.

Grant Gerke

Hope this has legs!

sven

This is great news. I just hope Tesla “cooperates on charging networks” better with BMW and Nissan than it cooperated with Ecotricity, it’s charging network partner in the UK. Elon doesn’t always play nicely with the other kids if he doesn’t always get his way.

Tesla accidentally sent Ecotricity a bombshell email laying out their plans for a smear campaign against Ecotricity, and for orchestrating a hijacking of Ecotricity’s EV charger locations by getting motorway service stations to break their contracts/leases with Ecotricity.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/misdirected-email-sparks-electric-car-war-between-tesla-and-ecotricity-9533260.html

JakeY

This has been in the news already. Basically Ecotricity has a monopoly on some motorway sites because of some exclusivity contracts. The terms they gave to Tesla probably was worse than simply paying the station owners to break their exclusivity contracts (and there’s nothing ethically wrong with that, given no one really has a irrevocable right to installing stations in certain locations).

As for the other accusations it’s kind of one sided by Ecotricity at the moment. I don’t really buy that the location/owner information that their NDA protected would be difficult to obtain independently. It’s just as likely Tesla already target those location and approached Ecotricity after finding they already had contracts (rather than the other way around).

sven

“. . . no one really has a irrevocable right to installing stations in certain locations.”

Wrong. The terms of a contract or lease can give a party the irrevocable right to exclusively install EV chargers in certain locations. Obtaining irrevocable rights are whole point of entering into a contracts and leases. A landlord can’t just evict a tenant with a lease/contract because he gets a better offer at a later time. If a landlord breaches a lease/contract, not only would a tenant sue the landlord to enforce the the terms of the lease/contract (sue for specific performance), but the tenant would also sue the landlord for monetary damages incurred as a result of its breach.

“simply paying the station owners to break their exclusivity contracts (and there’s nothing ethically wrong with that. . . .)”

Not only is it ethically wrong, it is legally wrong under civil law. Ecotricity can sue Tesla for tortious interference of a contract.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/tortious_interference

JakeY

If Ecotricity had an irrevocable right they wouldn’t be suing Tesla, now would they (since Tesla would have no choice but to go with them)? It’s because Ecotricity DOESN’T have an irrevocable right, that they have to sue Tesla (since Tesla is getting owners to break the contracts). The only case were there might be a irrevocable right is if the government determines there is a need for a natural monopoly (like public utilities, telecom etc), but so far I haven’t seen this happen with charging stations yet.

I would only agree on the ethical side if Tesla was trying to get their own exclusivity agreement (rather than sharing). If it was sharing, I don’t see how Tesla was ethically wrong.

As for the legal side, sure, Ecotricity can sue for damages (which is what you linked), but what I’m saying is that Tesla is likely to have offered to pay for those damages to the location owners. In other words, the terms Ecotricity offered must have been pretty bad for Tesla to rather pay for damages than to go with an agreement with Ecotricity.

sven

No. Rights under a contract are by definition irrevocable, otherwise no contract would ever be enforceable. That’s basic contract law.

Ecotricity would be suing the service stations owners, because Ecotricity entered into a contract with the service station owners. This contract gave Ecotricity the exclusive right to provide EV charging at the service station locations. If the service stations owners breach the contract by allowing Tesla to install Superchargers, Ecotricity would sue the service station owners for damages and for an INJUNCTION to enjoin them from allowing Tesla to install Superchargers at the service stations.

JakeY

Okay fine. I’m using the colloquial definition of revocable, not the legal one (I’m not a lawyer, nor am I trying to play one). Hopefully that makes you happy about terminology. In colloquial terms, the owners are revoking Ecotricity’s exclusive rights to the location and as long as the owners pay the appropriate damages as laid out in the contract, there is nothing preventing the owners from doing so.

As for the legal side, yes, Ecotricity will be suing the property owners first, but Tesla must have offered to pay for any damages the owners incur or there would be no reason for the owners to go with Tesla. What I’m talking more about here is your “tortious interference” reference, which allows Ecotricity to sue Tesla directly for damages. Tesla must have factored that in too.

Nelson

“United we stand, divided we fall.” I hope the three are aware they will be targeted by those who follow the other motto “Divide and conquer”. Open minds will triumph.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

SeattleTeslaGuy

Hmmm. In my career, I’ve been around and participated in many standards efforts. Seldom do standards efforts bear the fruit that the early participants expect. In general, the most successful companies buck the standardization efforts. Maybe they contribute in a passive aggressive way. If I were Tesla, I’d have very clear boundaries around the level of participation.

Now, in the the realm of EV charging, a plug and signaling standard is clearly a very good thing. But is it superchargers or just the plug format and signaling protocol?

I predict that the superchargers themselves will remain a captive Tesla network. I certainly don’t want to have to compete with LEAFs, i3s or, shudder, PIPs for a spot at the charging trough. Hopefully, the next gen L3 chargers will have a Tesla format plug. With the addition of a chademo adapter (coming soon :)), I will have a pretty close to universal solution.

Not holding my breath and I do have the chademo adapter on order.

Ryan H

A LEAF, i3, etc with a significantly smaller battery capacity would take 10-20 minutes to completely charge from empty on a Supercharger. I’m not sure they would have a significant impact on Model S wait times at Superchargers… not to mention Superchargers are still spread way to far apart for one of these vehicles to benefit too greatly.

“I certainly don’t want to have to compete with LEAFs, i3s or, shudder, PIPs for a spot at the charging trough.”

@Seattle, if the owners of these vehicles paid the $2k (or whatever) for access to the SC, they have every right to use the station as much as a Tesla. I think it would be more likely that an owner of a 20kWh (or less) plug-in would say, “I sure hate waiting for these 85kWh Teslas to recharge”.

SeattleTeslaGuy

Classic straw man argument, Kdawg.

I like my little pond. I didn’t buy a Tesla to run with the masses. I hope Elon gets that (I’m pretty sure he does). Call me elitist, I don’t care.

But then, I bet it’s a moot point as very few will pony up the money to gain access. This assumes Elon lets them into the “club” – which I doubt. Access to designs and patents, yes. SC network – I bet not.

Alok

I understand, and fully respect, your “elitist” attitude (though it might not be mine). Since I’m long dreaming of BMW and other high end automakers (in particular) to either join the SC network (ideally) or develop a more powerful standard than CCS (>200 kW) and build a network of such chargers in US, Europe, … I would be curious to know if you would mind sharing the SC network with BMW owners (whether future i3-BEVs-with-twice-the-current-range owners or future i5 or i8-long-range-BEVs owners). Would you?
And other Tesla owners: would you mind?

Greetings
Alok

PS: I’m mainly thinking of high end automakers because BEVs will long range make more economical sense, currently, in the case of costly cars (that’s Tesla’s logic, nothing new…).
For lower-end long-range EVs, PHEVs might still be more economical (unfortunately…).

Of course lower-end short-range BEVs make a lot of sense also (in a multiple-vehicle household, or in a single-car household in combination with an occasional HEV rental).

JakeY

“A LEAF, i3, etc with a significantly smaller battery capacity would take 10-20 minutes to completely charge”

Again, as discussed in a different thread, this is wrong. The smaller batteries will take just as long to charge, because the max speed batteries of a certain chemistry can charge at is based on time (C-rate), not power in kW.

Taken to the extreme, imagine if you reduced the size of the Leaf battery 10x to 2.4kWh. Would you expect the battery to still be able to safely charge in 1-2 minutes (without frying the battery)? The answer would obviously be no.

The difference with the smaller pack is it would take more charges to travel the same distance, which means Tesla would need to provide more stations per mile to handle those cars (thus small capacity cars costs more money to support). That’s why there’s been talk over at TMC that Tesla will specify a minimal capacity and kW charge rate to qualify for supercharger usage.

David Murray

I think it is kind of late in the game to start having this discussion. It should have happened years ago. What possible good can come from it now? I certainly don’t want to see a 4th charging standard.

The best thing I could see happening would be this:

All manufacturers agree on a universal charging protocol (along with whatever protocol they are currently using.) Then create a charging station that has 3 different cords, one for Tesla, one for Chademo, and one for Frankenplug.

An alternative would be to have one cable with a universal connector, then each manufacturer would have to supply a small 1 or 2 foot adapter cable that would connect to their car.

I just can’t see any scenario that involves killing off a current charging standard. Think of all of those Leafs out on the road using Chademo already. If one has to be killed off, then kill off the Frankenplug because there are almost no cars on the road using it yet.

I find it misplaced that you use the term “Frankenplug”, when the Chademo connector is much bigger and requires 2 cables/ports.

If one standard emerges, yes adapter cables will be required for all the ‘obsolete’ cars out there. Being that plug-in vehicles are currently only 0.75% of the market-share, I think we are easily within the early stages of the game to define one standard.

Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette.

QCO

That’s a very good point. The EV market is still small enough to accommodate a move to a single universal standard, especially when the benefits would be so significant for mainstream market EV adoption.

JakeY

Actually, I think the standard to ditch would be CHAdeMO. This is because the AC socket (J1772/Mennekes) is unlikely to be changed and CHAdeMO doesn’t support AC, which means it needs an extra socket. If CCS is kept then at most the cars only need two sockets (CCS + Tesla).

If CHAdeMO is kept there would be three sockets needed (AC + CHAdeMO + Tesla).

If Tesla can the automakers to adopt Tesla as the only socket on their cars (and adapters for everything else), then no standards have to be ditched.

The (non-Tesla) stations I imagine will have dual CHAdeMO and CCS for quite some time. Maybe they will add the Tesla connector, but I don’t see them eliminating connectors at this stage (given the relatively low cost).

QCO

I think you are missing the potential point, perhaps be cause you are always looking backwards at J1772 plugs.

The potential here is a universal single plug/socket going forward. If there is agreement to use Tesla fast charging, then no other plug is needed since AC can also be accommodated. This would be a tremendous achievement and how’s the time to do it whilst the EV market is young.

You need to start looking forward, JakeY, you might find the perspective refreshing.

JakeY

I AM looking forward, I mentioned the possibility of all the automakers just adopting the Tesla socket only (no other sockets):
“If Tesla can the automakers to adopt Tesla as the only socket on their cars (and adapters for everything else), then no standards have to be ditched.”

However, in the case were J1772 AC is kept as a socket on the car, it makes more sense to keep CCS than to keep CHAdeMO.

SeattleTeslaGuy

As much as I wish chademo would go away, I think you are right. In terms of market share and momentum, chademo is the rocketship. In terms of network that makes sense, it’s Tesla. That leaves everyone else out in the cold.

If some one wants to make a real case for CCS or what ever, they should ship some volume before making any demands at the table.

Tech01x
Both CHAdeMO and CCS in their current implementations are not long for this world. They simply are too slow and make zero economic sense. Each and every CHAdeMO and CCS EVSE that has ever been deployed has a very short service life because it costs too much for what it provides. For Nissan, BMW, or any other car manufacturer to ship a car with a 45+ kWh battery pack, they will have to contend with scrapping and upgrading the entire 20-60 kW DCFC network or adopt Tesla’s Superchargers. I think they will likely adopt Tesla’s plug as a new SAE J1772-DC standard and scrap CCS and CHAdeMO altogether. It is a complete waste of money to install CCS or CHAdeMO at this stage. Instead, install 40-80A J1772’s all over the place. One can install 6-10 J1772’s for the cost of a single CHAdeMO/CCS combo charger. Which ultimately will be more useful? L3 DCFC is for long distance travel. With a big enough battery pack, you won’t be charging at Walgreen’s or the grocery store at 24A. You’ll want 40-80A J1772’s at places where one will spend at least 2-3 hours, and we will need many at hotels, malls, parks, movie… Read more »
HVACman

GM may be thinking,”Uh, the SAE, the automotive industry’s world standards association, just developed an actual “standard”. Where were you?”

Keith

SAE was two years later than Chademo and chose or was forced by GM politics for a single plug standard?
The question should be why SAE could not build on the Chademo system ? Or why Tesla could not follow either?

Seems Iike a typical NIH reaction.

JakeY

CHAdeMO was evaluated as a possible SAE standard but was not picked. The technical reason was that it needed a separate protocol and port for DC vs AC charging.

The other reason was that it wasn’t an open standard (the CHAdeMO organization only fast tracked moves to make it an open standard after SAE rejected it and the EU was suggesting laws to ban it in public stations in the future in favor of CCS2). This has pretty big implications in terms of licensing patents (esp. FRAND), and also in terms of control of the future direction/development of the standard (international vs Japan controlled).

It’s not as simple as NIH.

Spec9

Is that true? Chademo only opened up AFTER it got rejected? It not being an open/royalty-free standard was reason enough to reject it.

Marshal G

It’s about time they all came to their senses. Nissan sent a survey asking me about my intentions when my lease is up, and I made it clear that I’ll probably hold out for a Gen3 Tesla mainly due to lack of appropriately placed L3 charging.

Nix

I wonder if Tesla making their patents open source has any relationship with this? I know that many companies didn’t like the CHAdeMO standard, because it was a proprietary standard. Anyone building stuff for CHAdeMO has to license it from the Japanese.

Having another standard that is an open standard would be a boon.

Anon

Exactly.

Elon kicked the beehive, and now the buzz has finally started…

evnow

Tesla adapter for the next gen Leaf/Infiniti LE ?

Afterall Tesla has CHAdeMO adapter.

Anon

I look at it like this…

The Model S (and soonish, X and retrofitted Roadsters), already have adapters for everyone’s electric infrastructure. Allowing others to use their flexible charging designs without license fees, for anyone remotely serious about EVs, makes for a compelling opportunity for other automakers.

In the near future, NOT having a Tesla Compatible EVSE, might be seen as a serious design / usability / desirability issue by EV consumers…

vdiv

Behold the Super-Combined Mennekes-deMO! 😉

Or as xkcd would put it:

TheBravelilToaster

““It is obviously clear that everyone would benefit if there was a far more simple way for everyone to charge their cars,” said one [BMW] executive, who declined to be named as the plans are not yet official.”

Per Musk:

“It is obviously clear that everyone would benefit if there was a far more simple way for everyone to charge their cars.”

Is it just me, or does the “anonymous source at BMW” talk just like Elon Musk?

vdiv

Maybe Musk has infiltrated BMW to change it from the inside out, Undercover Musk, the secret plan he would not reveal…

How is that for earth-shattering news? 😉

QCO

Sounds like a starting point for an agreement right there.

BMW really has nothing to loose in working with Tesla. The North American fast charge i3 is essentially orphaned since there are virtually no CCS1 chargers out there, and it’s clear they don’t like the dual plug CHAdeMO solution they implemented in Japan (although US i3 customers would probably be happier with CHAdeMO capability than CCS).

Tesla charger capability could be a good solution for North America, especially when a longer range i5 shows up.

Just_chris
This just needs to happen, really the idea that we are holding back the industry because we can’t decide on a plug shape and a comms standard is just ridiculous. I suspect this meeting is the result of the EU trying to force the issue. Really it doesn’t matter what the standard is provided it doesn’t hinder innovation. I can’t imagine that it would be all that difficult to adopt one plug and then provide an adapter at the fast chargers / super chargers for legacy vehicles. At the end of the day the car tells the charger what is can and can’t take so this really shouldn’t be too difficult to sort out. As for the Tesla people not wanting to rub shoulders with the dirty PiP buyers or the Leaf owner who doesn’t want to wait and age for a big fat Tesla to charge up, you are skating on very thin ice. What ever nation you are sitting in, you have all benefited significantly from tax payers directly and indirectly subsiding your new car, that means you have to suck it up and share, same plug, same charging standard. We are not paying for you to experience… Read more »
QCO

Nice! I’ve just put some dirty laundry in the car to make sure I stay focused on what’s important!

But seriously, your point is well taken. There is no better time than now to converge on a standard, even though many people, including the EU, may have to swallow their NIH pride.

Since the Tesla solution is measurably better than any other solution out there, and is now available for the asking, it really is the best way forward.

Just_chris

I don’t know which is better, looking at it from a pure power perspective I suspect that the Tesla solution has some significant advantages but I’d be interested in the cost of the hardware and how the system works. Clearly the Tesla system should out perform the i-MIEV system but can it be fitted into a $22k car, Tesla always talk about the mass market as being $35k to 40k and 200 miles. That excludes massive numbers of people from the EV market, we have to get to a point where you can “fill” your electric car up more easily than a petrol car. IMO the end game has to be that EV’s are better than petrol not just greener or cheaper but easier too. Worrying about which plug or which network you are on are unnecessary hurdles that just don’t need to be there. Clearly if there is a technical reason for the difference then that’s fine but I really don’t understand why we can’t have one plug, one charging station and one comms language.

Bob

In many standards wars, the competing standards are roughly equivalent. Here, the Tesla plug is clearly far superior to the J1772, CHAdeMo and SAE. None of the others can carry the required current for a Tesla-class vehicle and they are all bigger, bulkier and cannot do AC and DC in the same small plug. In the end, the Tesla plug will win out. There will be a transition period, but I think that Elon’s opening the patent portfolio was the final missing piece to make this happen.

Malcolm Scott
My reading of the tea leaves outside the US is that Tesla has already standardised on Type 2 Mennekes connector for both AC and DC. This will be the basis for a global harmonised single plug/connector standard for all charging services (as Mennekes connector can support both single and three phase power). A couple of the comments above touch on this possibility. European SC charging stations already use the Mennekes connector by using a slightly longer body to get the current through the pins (so I read from other blogs). This allows for the single connector interoperability of Tesla Model Ss with standard type 2 L2 charging infrastructure and Tesla SC charging stations in Europe. It appears that Tesla sees no role for the combo plug(s) in any market. I hypothesise that Tesla’s proprietary SC plug in the US will also be replaced. It’s not too late to retrofit sold vehicles, deployed SC stations and home charging HPWCs. In Australia the Tesla SC will also support the type 2 Mennekes standard. Of special interest in Australia will be Tesla’s plans for the deployment 10/20 kW Tesla HPWC as public charging infrastructure at Tesla’s standard business model to the user –… Read more »
Dchristian

I read the tea leaves the same way you do, Malcolm.

Tesla is steering toward the same Mennekes solution that they’re using on their ex-US models.
It’s OK for SAE to save face and calls it J1772-CCS.

I think this design would be very good thing for the industry.
EVSEs can easily get a hose-swap -ectomy.
Very little capital cost.
Physical adapters for existing EVs will be simple. Electronic interface upgrades where necessary shouldn’t be a big deal.

Ochoa no mizu, o kudasai?
Tea? No!

Its time for CHAdeMENNEKES !

Ryan

Mitsubishi sure does drop the ball a lot.

They made a car called the 3000GT at one time. The first gen Eclipse sold really well.