An announcement today from Audi tells us that the German automakers are, through the Charging Interface Initiative e.V. (CharIN), planning to extend the Combo Charging System to support 150 kiloWatt charging rates. This jibes with plans from Audi, Porsche, and others, to begin selling electric cars with 95 kiloWatt-hour or more battery pack sizes. As Tesla Motors has demonstrated, when the pack is that big the charging rate had better be over 100 kiloWatts.
A quote attributed to Ricky Hudi, Head of Development for Electrics/Electronics at AUDI AG says “Together with our partners in the CharIn initiative, we are fully focusing on quick charging stations that are based on the CCS standard. This method is powerful, thoroughly developed and convenient.”
The importance of fast charging comes when we try to replicate Road Trips with an electric vehicle. At the 50 kiloWatt charging rate common for CHAdeMO and ComboChargingSystem vehicles today, the effective trip speed is about 45 miles/hr. But at the 120 kiloWatt charge rate used at Tesla Motors Supercharger stations, the effective trip speed is well over 60 miles/hr.
Effective trip speed is governed by the miles of range gained per hour of charging. This is where gasoline cars shine — they gain over 300 miles of range per five minutes of charging, where the Tesla Model S gains that much in about an hour of charging, and a CHAdeMO/CCS vehicle gains about 60-70 miles of range per half hour of charging.
Another way to slice this is the full recharge time for vehicles with 90+ kiloWatt-hour battery packs. Delivering the 200-300 mile range affordable electric cars, promised for the 2017-2020 time frame, means vehicles with 60 kWh to 90 kWh or more battery packs. At a 50 kiloWatt charging rate, refilling that much of the pack will require perhaps 2 hours. Or, as JB Straubl told me the time I got to talk with him about this, from Tesla’s point of view what the rest of us call fast charging they see as slow charging.
I keep bringing up Tesla Motors because the Supercharger system demonstrates what’s possible. With a 70 or 85 or 90 kiloWatt-hour pack, and 120 kiloWatt charging at Supercharger stations, Model S and Model X owners are able to take proper road trips. It took Tesla Motors investing dollars in inter-city charging infrastructure, and the vision to sell a road trip capable electric car (when supported by a suitable charging network).
Tesla Motors has clearly demonstrated that success with long range electric vehicles has to be coupled with a widespread inter-city fast charging network offering 100+ kiloWatt charging rates. The big question is whether the automakers other than Tesla Motors will have the advantage of a widespread inter-city fast charging network?
The CHAdeMO camp is also working on higher charging rates. Kia has demonstrated at least twice that the Soul EV is capable of 100 kiloWatt charging via a suitable CHAdeMO station.
German charging station maker EVTEC participated with Kia in one of those demonstrations. Their product is a multi-head charging station supporting not only ComboChargingSystem and CHAdeMO, but three phase AC fast charge, and has a flexible design similar to the Tesla Supercharger stations.
The announcement was associated with the “Electronics in Vehicles” (ELIV) congress held in Baden-Baden. At that conference, the CharIN members demonstrated “equipment and automobiles that are suitable for charging with up to 150 kW.” The founding members of CharIN include Audi, BMW, Daimler, Opel, Porsche and Volkswagen, TÜV SÜD and two manufacturers of industrial plugs: Mennekes and PhoenixContact.
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