The stage is being set for a technology duel not unlike the Mac versus Windows or VHS versus Betamax battles.
U.S. and German automakers have agreed to adopt a new fast-charging technology that will recharge most compatible electric vehicles in as little as 15-20 minutes. This could be a major game-changer for battery and plug-in hybrid cars as it minimizes one of the key objections: the amount of time to restore the vehicle to usable condition. It’s also the technological equivalent of drawing a line in the sand as the Japanese have their own systems and so much of current EV technology is sourced through Japan.
The new Combined Charging System (CCS) – officially called DC-fast charging with a Combined Charging System – will be demonstrated at the World Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (EVS26) that opens tomorrow at the Los Angeles Convention Center and runs through Wednesday, May 9.
Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen will support the use and deployment of the CCS in the United States and Europe as well as designing their electric vehicles to use it.
The CCS integrates one-phase AC charging, fast three-phase AC charging, DC-charging at home and ultra-fast DC charging at public stations into a single vehicle inlet. This will allow EV owners to recharge at most existing charging stations regardless of power source and may speed more affordable adoption of a standardized infrastructure. SAE International (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers), one of the world’s primary automotive standards organizations, has already chosen the Combined Charging System as the fast-charging methodology as its standard for incrementally extending the existing Type 1-based AC-charging. The SAE is to be officially published this summer. ACEA, the European association of vehicle manufacturers, has also selected the CCS as its AC/DC-charging interface for all new vehicle types in Europe beginning in 2017.
The charging system design was based on the collaborative review and analysis of existing charging strategies, the ergonomics of the connector and preferences of U.S. and European customers. The Combined Charging System was developed for all international vehicle markets and creates a uniform standard with identical electrical systems, charge controllers, package dimensions and safety mechanisms.
The system maximizes capability for integration with future smart grid developments through common broadband communication methods regardless of the global location of the charging system. The combined charging approach will reduce development and infrastructure complexity, improve charging reliability, reduce the total cost-of-ownership for end customers and provide low maintenance costs.
Commercially available combined charging stations are projected to be available later this year. All committed OEMs have vehicles in development which will use the Combined Charging System. First vehicles using this technology will be launched to the market in 2013.