Which DC Fast Charger Standard will win, or will regions have to have multiple standards, or will the world be divided into regions using different standards?
UPDATE on Porsche Fast Charging – see below
There are four main DC Fast Charger (a.k.a. DCQC – DC Quick Charge) contenders:
Tesla DC Fast Charger is proprietary for good reason – Tesla built their own SuperCharger network around the world, but do the rest of the vehicle OEMs have to support multiple standards especially when the CapEx to install these chargers is nontrivial? World map Overview of AC and DC 3 Levels
Here are the connectors and inlets – most promising is the CCS Type 2 shown below (See below, Porsche makes its choice for DC Fast charger standard)
In 2010, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi partnered to establish the CHAdeMO quick charge standard. Most current CHAdeMO chargers have charge speeds of 40 – 60 kW, which is fast enough to charge a Nissan LEAF to 80 percent in about a half hour. In the future that could rise to as high 100 kW as improvements are made to the technology. Nearly all of Japan’s DCQC stations are CHAdeMO. In the U.S. they make up nearly three quarters of the existing quick charge infrastructure. Worldwide, CHAdeMO passed the 10,000 station mark in late 2015, making it by far the most popular standard. Clearly the first big player in the industry was the Japanese CHAdeMO standard, supported heavily by Nissan. Mitsubishi also uses CHAdeMO, but their all-electric car sales have weakened over time, and for example, the DC inlet in the Outlander PHEV isn’t as important as it is for pure electric models (such as the i-MiEV). CHAdeMO leads, but now limps without broad support from the other manufacturers (outside Japan).
In late 2011, a second quick charge standard entered the fray. The Combined Charge System (CCS) standard got its name because it built on the existing J1772 Level 2 charge standard to allow for all three speeds of charging from a single port. (In CHAdeMO vehicles, the Level 2 and DCQC ports must be placed side by side to allow for multiple speeds.) Spearheaded by American and European carmakers, CCS chargers improved several of the practicality and cost issues associated with CHAdeMO while allowing for a higher potential rate of charge. While existing CCS chargers typically run at the same speeds as CHAdeMO, the standard allows for a theoretical maximum of 350 kW through the port—more than twice as fast as a Tesla Supercharger.
Example of preference in e-bus market – Proterra is going with the CCS Combo DC fast charging standard for its electric buses so that the infrastructure will be universal for any CCS vehicles now and in the future. The bus maker recently ordered 57 Tritium Veefil-RT chargers that supply up to 50 kW DC – enough for an overnight charge, even for batteries as large as in the case of buses.
Efacec’s First 350 kW CCS Combo DC Fast Chargers Already Up & Running. For upcoming, long-range EVs, Efacec intends to offer chargers capable of charging from 350 A and 1000 V (920 V nominal). See below, Porsche makes its choice for DC Fast charger standard.
U.S. largest non-Tesla DC Fast Charging network is EVgo. Problem with this network is low power (50kW max) and limited time allotment per charge session. EVgo and others need to step up their game to 150kW minimum. Last year, EVgo and ABB built the first ‘High-Power fast-charging station’ (150-350 kW) in the US. More stations with similar charging capacities are expected to hit the market soon. ChargePoint unveiled its 400 kW charging technology earlier this year. The company is one of EVgo’s biggest competitors and they are expected to track the deployment of those stations closely to EVgo’s own system.
Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV, for example, is available with quick-charge capability in Japan but Mitsubishi recently announced that it won’t offer the option in the U.S. In fact, there are currently no plug-in hybrids sold in the U.S. with a DCQC port. This is more a reflection of the added cost of the feature and limited availability of infrastructure than demand from drivers. A recent survey by one of the nation’s leading charge providers, NRG EVgo, found that given the option of both chargers at a single site, drivers preferred DCQCs 12-to-1 over Level 2 charging.
As Tesla realized though, the more immediate need is increasing the value proposition of their product by allowing owners to increase the distance they can drive in a given day without an extended period of charging—not attracting existing drivers to dealerships or shopping centers already within range of their homes. Tesla is also expected to eventually release the “version 3” of its Superchargers. Elon Musk hinted that “it will put 350 kW to shame”, but there’s no clear timeline at this point for the release of the technology.
UPDATE: Porsche Cars North America plans to have at least 500 350kW 800 volt CCS Type 2 fast chargers available at 189 of the U.S. dealerships and highway locations by the end of 2019. Another 20 will be installed at Canadian dealerships, but a timeline hasn’t been established. HOWEVER, No free ride at the Porsche pump – When Porsche Mission E owners pull up to the fast-charging power pump, they will be reminded that the price of the juice, needed by their premium EV, was not included in the original invoice, and for the fast charging convenience, will cost about the same as a gas fill-up. The justification for this cost is the promise to replenish the batteries to 80% of their capacity — enough to drive about 248 miles / 400 kms — in less than 20 minutes. Unlike Porsche’s decision to price its charging network alongside the cost of filling up at the pump, Tesla states that its supercharging network “will never be a profit center” despite the decision to raise its Supercharger pricing across the United States. Currently, Tesla charges an average of $0.226 per kWh to top off any of its cars not grandfathered into free lifetime Supercharging. New Tesla owners are provided a free annual credit of 400 kWh, which is enough to travel around 1,000 miles.
The automaker is working with three potential partners in the United States — ChargePoint, EVgo and Electrify America — to set up the 300-plus non-dealership fast chargers. Unlike Tesla, whose mission is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport…,” and offered, until recently, free lifetime Supercharging to owners of the Model S and Model X, the German automaker is a little less altruistic. The company also plans to introduce a superfast 800-volt home charger that can add 215 miles in 15 minutes. “It’s very important to us not only to (provide) speed on the track and on the road but also speed in charging,” a Porsche exec said. Additionally, 5 major automakers announced that they joined forces to deploy 400 ultra-fast (350 kW) charging stations for electric vehicles in Europe.
Porsche claims that the system deployed in the first stations already has the backend to support 350 kW charge rate, but it can currently charge at 50 to 150 kW until vehicles can support higher charge rates. They had to develop a new transformer in order to support the charge points. The new station in Atlanta is one of the first with this much power in the US.
Porsche has been on a roll, with significant expansions in its sales, profits and employee base over the past five years. Its financial cushion will be used to finance the strategic transition. “We are using our high earnings level to support an unprecedented future development plan,” Porsche Chairman Oliver Blume said in the company’s hours-long annual earnings announcement meeting, which also serves as a product introduction gala. The Porsche brand is well known worldwide. It sold 246,375 of its expensive, high-performance vehicles in 2017, generating 4 percent higher revenues of $21 billion, compared with 2016. Its operating profit rose 7 percent to $5 billion, or a stunning $20,000 on each car. The company has a particularly avid following in California, which accounted for 24 percent of the 55,470 cars it sold in the U.S. Porsche will invest $3.75 billion in new technology in the next four years, as much as it has to date, Blume said The money will be spent on derivatives of the upcoming all-electric Mission E sedan, adding hybrid versions of existing gasoline models, electric charging technology, and “smart mobility” including new digital services. Like other automakers, Porsche is under pressure from existing and pending regulations around the globe forcing it to cut greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. Electric car technology is currently the surest route to cleaner air, but although EV interest is growing, the vast majority of new vehicle buyers today prefer internal combustion engines.
What would’ve been smart is if, instead of trying to get into an expensive contest of sorts, automakers teamed up and worked to make their new EVs adaptable to Tesla’s already existing network of Superchargers. Tesla has seemingly made it clear it’s open to it, and the company’s free-to-inexpensive charging has helped create a perception that EVs can be more affordable than gas guzzlers. Congestion could become—and in some spots already is—an issue for Tesla, but a mutually beneficial partnership with other automakers could help expand charging infrastructure at a quicker pace. It’s crazy this isn’t a more common thing yet.