Volkswagen Unveils CCS “Supercharger” at Geneva Motor Show


VW's CCS Charger Has the Sleek Appearance of a Tesla Supercharger

VW’s CCS Charger Has the Sleek Appearance of a Tesla Supercharger

At its stand at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen was plug-in heavy.

Charger Interface

Charger Interface – Say Hi to InsideEVs Contributor Tom Moloughney

The VW Golf GTE made its world debut in Geneva alongside the VW e-Golf and the VW e-Up!.

With all those plug ins, it’s time to debut a plug, right?

Well, here it is – The Volkswagen CCS DC Quick Charger.

It’s lookin’ rather sleek like a Tesla Supercharger, isn’t it?

Word is that this unit will be rolled out across Europe soon, but there are no immediate plans to install them in the US.

Like all CCS units, this VW version has the ability to charge at up to 170 kW, but likely only delivers the norm of 50 kW right now.

VW CCS Connector

VW CCS Connector

Categories: Charging, Volkswagen


Leave a Reply

54 Comments on "Volkswagen Unveils CCS “Supercharger” at Geneva Motor Show"

newest oldest most voted

Excellent, another standard!

And a big honking connector. Bigger is always better, right??

How is this another standard? This is the euro-variant of SAE CCS, based around the 7-pin Type 2 connector that supports 3-phase AC. Same footprint and communications as the North American version, so trivial for manufacturers to adapt to each market (way easier than a lot of the other changes required to cross the pond!)

If you’re worried about the 0.00001% of motorists who ship their car overseas – we’ve got bigger fish to fry!

So how do they get 3phase 400 volts thru the thing? Use the lower frankenplug thing for 2 of the wires and then the big one up top? Where is the ‘earth’? I thought the little guys were just pilot wires and you’d have to have 4 big prongs to safely use this on a 3 phase circuit, which I’m surprised is not compatible with the ubiquitous Mennekes one.

With CCS, whether European or North American, the DC charge station cord is not intended to also include AC charging capability. The point of CCS is that you only need one connector on the vehicle for all types of charging. The point is not so that you can make one charge station cable that can do AC or DC charging (it would be poor business to encourage somebody to use a 50kW machine at only 3kW!)

All that to say, the Type 2 AC connector has 7 pins, enabling 3-phase AC. When the DC pins are added underneath the Type 2 connector, there’s no point in populating all of those 7 pins, as only the earth, proximity, and pilot wires are used.

Ok, missed that little detail about the differences between the male and female. Thanks Mustangsalad!

This is the same SAE-Combo standard that has been around for a year or so now (but is now just getting deployed).

Great to see another manufacturer admitting that the the current fast charge rate agreed in the standards is too slow. Install these at each dealer and you have almost a Tesla setup. Go VW.

I agree it’s good to see this but dealerships are really poor places for chargers. Tesla is positioning Superchargers so you can do long distance travel with ease. They are located close to major expressways and in reasonable locations close to food, bathrooms and shopping.

Dealerships are an OK place for a charger if it is a quick-charge. If you are only going to be there 10 minutes, and assuming the charger is available 24/7 then I’m okay with it. However, sitting at a dealer for several hours on an L2 charger is not my idea of fun. I know, I’ve had to do it a couple of times.

No charge will be just 10 minutes unless you’re just putting a couple of miles on. Good battery management will ramp down the rate as the battery fills.

I’ve stopped several times at Chademo stations for 10 minutes and picked up a good 20-30 miles of range. In most cases around town that is all you need is enough to get home, not a full charge.

I have a Leaf, and like David, I usually quick-charge 10 to 15 minutes; I rarely need more.

With the battery below ~50% SoC, I count roughly 3 miles added per minute.

The more important issue, as STG points out, is that fast chargers need to be on or reasonablet close to your route of travel.

It’s not a fast charge if you have to drive 15-30 minutes each way out of your way to get there and back on course.

It’s also a lot more pleasant to spend your 30-45 min wait in a restaurant or coffe house than in a dealers lounge, especially when you’re on a road trip and need to eat anyway. If you’re eating, you’re not waiting. If you’re in a dealers lounge, you’re waiting.

This sounds like one of those “ideal is the enemy of good” situations. Totally agree with everyone who wants chargers where they can walk away and shop/eat/check in, whatever… but car companies can’t easily persuade those places to plunk down the cash and space (they can and should try… but that only goes so far). They can influence dealers much more easily and directly, so nudging them to do so is way better than not having any fast chargers at all, which is the reality in many towns today, including several major metro areas.

More like best, better and really-sucky. Tesla SCs are typically 2 minutes from the freeway and near a coffee shot, cafe or some such. So, potty break, grab a bit and stretch your legs. The back on the road. I’d call SCs better but far from ideal.

It amazes me that people still look at chargers like gas stations. They are fundamentally different. I think the closest ICE world analogy are the travel plazas you find off of freeways.

But Tesla SCs are more like gas stations. Drive for a few hours then stop for 30 minutes or so while tending to biological functions. Due to smaller batteries and lower amperage on most CHAdeMO stations, instead of a 6:1 ratio for driving:charging time, we’re looking at a 2:1 ratio or less. That makes a LEAF or my i-MiEV still impractical for highway trips, but is invaluable for extended range within a metro area during a single day.

The problem for Tesla’s competitors is that Tesla has already shown that it can be done. Tesla is being rewarded with a very avid investor pool.

Now the other guys are just looking second rate, and soon their board and investors will start to aka why they are missing the boat on this disruptive technology.

It reminds me of the GUI vs command line user interface (CLUI) battles in the 1980s. The eventual outcome was obvious. But still, the valley was littered with the carnage of companies who tried to argue that their user experience was “good enough”.

The handwriting is on the wall.

You only need 640k… 😉

The speed is relative to the size of the battery. 44kWh is fine for my Nissan LEAF and the VWs. With 24kW batteries it takes a 1/2 hour from empty to 80% at that rate.

A Tesla Model S needs over 100amps to do that. 60 or 85 kW battery.

CHAdeMO has been great for the LEAF and Superchargers are great for Teslas. Why we need a 3rd attempted standard is beyond me… but good luck to them. Just hope they install CHAdeMO everywhere they put CCS. Lots of LEAFs are already out there and virtually nothing on the road yet (as of March 2014) uses CCS.

kW=Power, kWh=energy. A battery’s energy capacity is measured in kWh, a charge stations maximum power output is measured in kW.

The Tesla supercharger is not a ‘standard’ . . . it is a private proprietary system.

SAE-Combo was created by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in order to have an open standard that all auto makers could use. The big 3 USA auto makers and all the German auto makers signed up for it. Presumably they don’t want to pay a license fee for the Japanese-centric Chademo standard created by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

Standard does not automatically equal better.

it is if it moves more products at the end of the day

Hey, every Chademo Liscense helps pay for cleaning up / decommissioning TEPCO’s Fukushima Reactors. 😉

CHAdeMO is both a JIS and ISO/IEC standard, open for any car or charging equipment company to implement.

FrankenPlug meets giant iPhone! 😉

Shame no one seems willing to share access to Teslas’ SuperChargers… Would save everyone in the EV biz, a lot of money in the long run…

“Like all CCS units, this VW version has the ability to charge at up to 170 kW, but likely only delivers the norm of 50 kW right now.” This begs the question: Why not start at 170 kWh today?

The CCS connector is rated at 170KW. It would most likely be limited to 85KW for safety.

Eric was misled. CCS can’t do 170kW.

The type of connector shown above can handle up to 200A at (depending on which spec you believe) 450 or 500V, so 90 or 100kW.
This geometry doesn’t allow for more.

The “giant iPhone”, assuming it’s not just a empty demo box, indeed probably maxes out at half that. After all, the e-Up only takes 40kW max anyway…

The purely theoretical “170kW” number is if you add up CCS’ different modes, and obviously they can’t all be used simultaneously.
It’d be like saying that a Leaf is capable of 58kW charging: 50kW DC/L3, 6.6 L2, and (in the US) 1.4 L1.

I believe the 170kW came from the 850V*200A spec that the Mennekes combo connector was originally rated for. More realistically, I think 600V*250A (150kW) is possible with the same format (I don’t see many battery packs configured to support 850V charging voltage).

The battery chemistry and architecture they are using can’t take a 170kW charge.

Also, the electrical infrastructure can’t provide that much power in most locations, without costly upgrades and demand surcharges.

Tesla uses small, massively parallel cells in their battery pack. Larger cells get hot spots, limiting the charge current.

To put that amount of power in perspective, at 480 volts, 170kW is 354 amps. A typical circuit breaker in your house is only 15 amps for 120 volts.

What’s more, a typical new home has 200 amp / 240 volts service for the entire home.

The way I read that statement, I thought that the charger could actually supply 170kW, but any car connecting to it will only draw 50kW (until Tesla creates their CCS adapter, of course!)

Hmm, Electric-Car-“Insider”, looks like you aren’t very familiar with the topic…

Max charging rates in kW are obviously directly proportional to battery capacity, regardless of the chemistry or “architecture”.

The (large-cell) Leaf and i-MiEV packs actually take higher charge current densities than the Model S’:
50 kW on 24 and 16 kW*h (2.1 and 3C) respectively, vs 120 kW on 85 kW*h (1.4C).

Furthermore, apparently, the Soul EV will accept up to 100kW (3.7C), while Proterra’s buses quick-charging time (6 minutes) points to an impressive 10C+ rate; neither uses small cells.

90/100kW (the actual CCS maximum in the configuration shown here) of course isn’t something you’d get at home, but is no problem at commercial locations. I’m at work; the racks of equipment downstairs suck ~200kW…

Don’t forget… Soul EV will have a CHAdeMO connector like iMiev and LEAF… joining the big club with all the other cars. Instead of setting out on their own to reinvent the wheel.

As far as I know CHAdeMO is rated at way higher energy than most can deliver currently… CCS has never demo’d anything faster than 50.

CHAdeMO has Vehicle to Grid already working, Vehicle to vehicle already working, Portable chargers already working… So why do we need new plugs and incompatible standards again… oh yeah… to lock everyone else out… and dominate markets… and slow down the current leaders…

What a waste… nice cars… hope they offer a CHAdeMO option.

Fast charge at 50kW or above generally requires 480v service. That’s common for large buildings, but not always available at retail locations where you might want to locate a Quick Charger. That’s why, for example, Fuji and others offer 25kW chargers that run on 208/240v three phase. It’s much more widely available and often doesn’t require a transformer upgrade.

io, you’re correct when you point out that the rate of charge is (to a large degree) limited by the battery capacity.

But that’s not the whole story. Parallelization increases the rate at which you can charge a battery pack. Smaller cells allow you to manage heat at a more fine-grained level. These parameters have nothing to do with battery capacity, but allow you to charge at different rates.

Which is why Tesla can charge at better than 130kW right now today.

There are certainly chemistries that can take much faster charges than the cells that Tesla uses. But (at least right now) they come with other trade-offs, like lower energy density.

Tesla’s superchargers run on anything between 200 and 277 volts (which is available on 480 volt services). New malls are all 480, except in canada where they are 600. Old malls are 208, and although tesla’s superchargers usually have their own distribution transformers installed by the serving utility, there’s no reason they cant be tied onto an existing 208 volt facility. Look at the nameplate of the SC.

Bill, a supercharger is putting out ~360v DC. Are you saying they would step that up from 208v, which would be 1.75 x amps? So about 285 amp at 60kW and 570a at 130kW? Then x4 stalls = 2,280 amps. Would anyone really install that at 208v?

Hey Look at the nameplate of a supercharger. If you don’t like the design, blame tesla cuz that’s the way they hook up.

Who would hook one up on 208? Tesla for one. They wouldn’t need a 400 amp disconnect switch for their “roadshow” portable SC’s if they were strictly for 380-480 volts. 200 amp switch would suffice.

Its quite obvious they use the 400 amp disconnect on the portable skid so that they can hook up anywhere sufficient 200-480 is available.

Your numbers dont add up. I never said they hook these things up on single phase, although they might be able to. The reason I say ‘might’ is with a 3 phase supply, the power flow is continuous, and a jerky power flow might upset their controls. But if the 9 or 12 chargers are identical to the ones they use in the car, then each individual charger runs on single phase, at least the US versions. Again, look at the SC nameplate.

maybe the bateries are not good enought today for so many energy.

170 kw? For one car? How grid unfriendly is that? Is every mall of the future with 2000 car spaces and 1/2 of them with 170 kw chargers also going to have a ‘colocated’ 85 mw central power plant?

That violately NIMBY (Not in my backyard)
and BANANA (Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone) Principles.

er, 1/4 of the spaces.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

So there’s a Mennekes CCS and a J1772 CCS?


They’re just guaranteeing CCS to have a difficult time against CHAdeMO.

Where have you been? The decision in Europe to go with the Type 2 connector for AC charging in order to support 3-phase happened a long time ago, completely independently of the DC charging discussion. Are you saying it would have made sense for manufacturers to build cars with a Type 2 connector for AC charging and a J1772 CCS connector DC charging?? All the communications protocols for either AC or DC charging have been harmonized between ISO/IEC and SAE, so adapting products for the two markets for either EVSE manufacturers or vehicle manufacturers is now trivial.

Since it is hard to drive over the Atlantic, that doesn’t matter much.

Anyone who buys a European car and wants a fast home charger for it (fast meaning faster than 3.3 kw) will just have to buy an autotransformer and phase converter to make the requisite 3 phase for their home garage. For anyone who is buying a fancy VW ev or Mercedes EV, this shouldn’t be a big consideration.

“It’s lookin’ rather sleek like a Tesla Supercharger, isn’t it?”

That was meant as a joke right?

For this whole article I feel I must trot out one of the oldest jokes in the engineering world:

“Our company likes standards. In fact, we like them so much, we think everyone should have
one of their own”.

Very nice. Unlike Tesla chargers that only work on Tesla models, this VW ‘Supercharger’ will work with any vehicle with combo charger.

Which means we should see the same coming from Ford, GM and VW to help expend the combo quick charger network in the US.

Just like the Nissan chargers from Japan that work with any Chademo equipped vehicle in the US.

I think they are going for the “2001 A Space Odyssey” monolith look.

It is odd that they copied the empty top part aspect. Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

It is…

I hope BMW and VW help deploy some SAE-Combo chargers in the USA because the Big 3 USA automakers sure aren’t doing a thing about it! GM is the only USA maker to make a car with the SAE-Combo charger and it is only available in 2 states.