How can CarCharging Group adopt Tesla Supercharger and CCS in Blink’s DC Fast Charging stations?

The CarCharging Group may be the first company to validate Tesla’s new strategy on patents.  CCG has announced its intention to integrate the Tesla Supercharger technology into Blink fast charging stations.

CarCharging Group started its life building charging stations on the ChargePoint network, but last year it bought the Blink network when ECOTality went out of business.  The 119 Blink CHAdeMO stations is, according to CCG, the largest DC fast charging network in the United States.  The company is also working with Nissan and Gridscape Solutions to integrate Nissan’s CHAdeMO stations into the Blink network.

Integrating Tesla Supercharger support into the Blink network would somewhat fit the theory I wrote the other day – that Tesla Motors will need to give up some control over the Supercharger system in order to get other automakers on board.  If CCG and Tesla make a deal, instead of Tesla directly spinning its own Supercharger network out as a separate company, it would be the first instance of a 3rd party company implementing the Supercharger system.

“Like Tesla Motors, CarCharging believes that the market potential for electric vehicles is vast and we are dedicated to doing all that we can to assist in its acceleration,” said CarCharging Founder and CEO, Michael D. Farkas. “By sharing its technologies, Tesla Motors provides CarCharging with the ability to leverage all of the locations in its portfolio and offer a solution that is compatible for all EV drivers, which is a win-win for the drivers and the industry.”

This is part of a broader plan to breath new life into the Blink network.  In addition to supporting Supercharger, the Blink network will also support the Combo Charging System.

At the high level, the Supercharger technology would have to be redone for integration with 3rd DC Fast Charging Station installations.  Doing so requires many more details than are in Tesla’s patent filings.

From the DC Fast Charging stations I’ve inspected the modules are:

Grid interface for 3 phase AC, 480 volts, and a big pile of amps  This requires some very large boxes with big heatsinks, etc
A large box – bigger than a refrigerator – to handle converting all 3 phases of AC into DC, with the ability to vary the voltage depending on the vehicle being charged
A smaller box for interfacing with the car, and providing the user interface and display screen

In the case of the Nissan CHAdeMO unit the latter two modules are in one slim box.

The picture shown here is for the Tesla Supercharger station in Gilroy, CA.  Inside the orange enclosure is the bigger-than-a-refrigerator boxes that convert 3 phase AC into power required for the Supercharger.  The big green box is where the interface to the grid occurs.

But, how would the CarCharging Group implement Tesla Supercharger, integrating it into Blinks own DC Fast Charging stations?

Let’s start this inquiry by studying the Tesla Supercharger installation in Gilroy.

This part of the Gilroy station was added later.  Some of these grey boxes have labels saying “Supercharger 5” or whatever, indicating which Supercharger port the box corresponds with.  Except, there isn’t enough of those boxes to directly match up with the charging ports.  I assume, and Tesla does have a patent or two on this, that Tesla designed the system to intelligently share power among the Supercharger ports if all ports are in use.

P5170139-700

This part, where the cord hangs, that’s just a shell.  There’s no electronics in this part.


This is those same charging pylons, but last fall (October 24, 2013) while they were still being installed.

This is the same concrete pad shown above, as it existed last fall while the expansion was still being installed.  In the background is the original four stalls Tesla installed at Gilroy, and further back is the brown box shown above.  Just outside this picture, to the right, is a pair of Level 2 charging stations owned by the SemaCharge group.

Up at the top of this post, I showed a Blink station.  Those Blink CHAdeMO stations have an additional unit, not shown in the picture, a big box that is the grid interface.

The question is, how do you merge the two charging systems together into one presentation for the user?  That is, one box containing multiple charging cords?

This trick has already been done by Schneider, ABB and some other charging station manufacturers whose fast charging stations support both CHAdeMO and the SAE Combo Charging System.  The user sees two charging cords, and they select the one that matches the receptacle on their car.  At this level it’s like choosing between Diesel or Gasoline fuel at the gas pump.

The dual protocol charging stations, as I understand it, have a control board for CHAdeMO and another for CCS.  The control board “speaks” the charging protocol (CHAdeMO or CCS), and then tells the AC/DC rectifier unit what voltage/amperage to send to the car.  In other words, the high power AC/DC rectifier unit itself doesn’t know the charging protocol, it’s the control board that does.

Therefore the Supercharger protocol could be implemented using a control board which speaks the Supercharger charging protocol.

The difficulty will be the power level expected by Elon Musk.  Musk has repeatedly said that any automaker seeking to implement Supercharger must build an electric car capable of accepting 130 kilowatts of charging input.  Musk didn’t talk about charging station manufacturers seeking to adopt the Supercharger system.  Now that we have a charging network (Car Charging Group) announcing its intention to do so, the question is here:  Will Musk make a similar requirement of 3rd party charging networks who implement the Supercharger system?

Will the Blink implementation of Supercharger also support 130 kilowatts?  Or will it be limited to 50 kilowatts as its CHAdeMO stations are?

It seems feasible that Blink (Car Charging) could add another control board and a Supercharger cord to its CHAdeMO charging stations.  But what if they also have to upgrade the grid interface to support 130 kilowatts?  Obviously that can be done, but at the expense of ripping out and replacing whatever existing grid interface exists at each site.

CarCharging’s press release also indicates the company plans to integrate the Combo Charging System into their DC Fast Charging stations.

The eventual result will be to upgrade the significance of the Blink network – giving that network support for all three DC Fast Charging protocols.

PRESS RELEASE
June 19, 2014, 8:30 a.m. EDT
CarCharging Intends to Integrate Tesla Motors’ Electric Vehicle Charging Technology into its Blink Network
Leaders in Electric Vehicle and Charging Infrastructure Expand Access to Technology and Services to Benefit EV Drivers and the Industry

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Car Charging Group, Inc. (otcqb:CCGI) (“CarCharging”), the largest owner, operator, and provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging services and owner of the Blink Network, one of the largest EV charging networks, announced its intention to integrate the Tesla Motors’ EV charging technology into Blink EV charging stations. According to the blog on the Tesla Motors’ website dated June 12, 2014, Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, stated that the company would “not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology”. Mr. Musk noted that the decision to provide access to the patents is “in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology” and that “Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform”.

While Tesla Motors’ Model S currently includes an adaptor for the J1772™ connector, the standard for public EV charging stations and compatible with EVs sold in North America, CarCharging anticipates incorporating the technology of Tesla Motors’ charging port into Blink charging stations as well as the Society of Automobile Engineers’ (SAE) new J1772™ DC Fast Charging combo coupler. By integrating these charging ports and connectors with its current J1772 and CHAdeMO connectors, CarCharging will expand the charging options currently available for EV drivers, including CarCharging’s network of 119 DC Fast Chargers, the largest network of DC Fast Chargers in the United States.

CarCharging is further expanding its network of DC Fast Chargers by actively working with Nissan to deploy quick chargers in key markets throughout the United States. CarCharging has also partnered with Gridscape Solutions, a software and service company that specializes in designing and developing a broad range of smart energy solutions, to integrate Nissan’s DC Fast Chargers with the Blink® Network, the software that operates, monitors, and tracks the Blink EV charging stations and all of its charging data.

“Like Tesla Motors, CarCharging believes that the market potential for electric vehicles is vast and we are dedicated to doing all that we can to assist in its acceleration,” said CarCharging Founder and CEO, Michael D. Farkas. “By sharing its technologies, Tesla Motors provides CarCharging with the ability to leverage all of the locations in its portfolio and offer a solution that is compatible for all EV drivers, which is a win-win for the drivers and the industry.”

CarCharging shares Tesla Motors’ commitment to the development of the EV market and is also actively working with other major EV charging networks on various interoperability initiatives. CarCharging recently launched the CarCharging mobile application (“app”), the first truly interoperable app that serves as the gateway to multiple networks that operate EV charging stations from various manufacturers. The CarCharging app provides drivers with the ability to locate public Blink, GE, SemaCharge, and ChargePoint EV charging stations, and initiate and pay for EV charging sessions at GE WattStations and SemaCharge stations, that are owned and operated by CarCharging, directly from their iPhone. The app is now available for is currently available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and is available for download from the App Store .

CarCharging also recently announced its participation in Nissan’s “No Charge to Charge” promotion, which provides two years of no-fee charging with the purchase of a new Nissan LEAF with the new EZ-Charge card, an all-access card that provides drivers with the ability to initiate charging sessions on CarCharging’s Blink Network as well as other major charging networks. CarCharging is also collaborating with GE’s Industrial Solutions business to establish interoperability between CarCharging’s Blink Network and GE’s WattStation EV chargers. GE will soon allow CarCharging’s Blink Network to serve as an alternative payment method for drivers and owners of GE WattStations.

To learn more about CarCharging and the Blink Network, please visit www.CarCharging.com and www.BlinkNetwork.com .

About Car Charging Group, Inc. Car Charging Group, Inc. (otcqb:CCGI) is a pioneer in nationwide public electric vehicle (EV) charging services, enabling EV drivers to easily recharge at locations throughout the United States. Headquartered in Miami Beach, FL with offices in San Jose, CA; New York, NY; and Phoenix, AZ; CarCharging’s business model is designed to accelerate the adoption of public EV charging.

CarCharging offers various options to commercial and residential property owners for EV charging services. Our typical business model provides a comprehensive turnkey program where CarCharging owns and operates the EV charging equipment; manages the installation, maintenance, and related services; and shares a portion of the EV charging revenue with the property owner. Alternatively, property partners can share in the equipment and installation expenses with CarCharging operating and managing the EV charging stations and providing network connectivity. For properties interested in purchasing and owning EV charging stations, CarCharging can also provide EV charging hardware, site recommendations, connection to the Blink Network, and management and maintenance services.

Through its subsidiary, Blink Network , CarCharging also provides residential EV charging solutions for single-family homes. For more information, please visitwww.BlinkHQ.com .

CarCharging has strategic partnerships across multiple business sectors including multi-family residential and commercial properties, parking garages, shopping malls, retail parking, and municipalities. CarCharging’s partners include, but are not limited to Walgreens, IKEA, Wal-Mart, Simon Property Group, Equity One, Equity Residential, Forest City, Cinemark USA, Fox Studios, Facebook, PayPal, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, Mayo Clinic, San Diego Padres, University of Pennsylvania, Ace Parking, Central/USA Parking, Icon Parking, Rapid Parking, Parking Concepts, CVS, Related Management, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, City of Phoenix (AZ), City of Philadelphia (PA), and City of Miami Beach (FL).

CarCharging is committed to creating a robust, feature-rich network for EV charging and is hardware agnostic. CarCharging owns the Blink network, and owns and operates EV charging equipment manufactured by Blink, Aerovironment, ChargePoint, General Electric, Nissan, and SemaConnect. CarCharging’s Level II charging stations are compatible with EVs sold in the United States including the Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-Miev, Toyota Prius Plug-In, Honda Fit EV, and Toyota Rav4 EV, as well as many others scheduled for release over the next few years.

For more information about CarCharging, please visit www.CarCharging.com, www.facebook.com/Car.Charging, or www.twitter.com/CarCharging .

Forward-Looking Safe Harbor Statement: This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined within Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. By their nature, forward-looking statements and forecasts involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the near future. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of Car Charging Group, Inc., and members of its management as well as the assumptions on which such statements are based. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed conditions.

SOURCE Car Charging Group, Inc.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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