Clean Transport Image Credit: Shutterstock

Published on January 1st, 2016 | by Kyle Field

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EV Charging — The Time For A Single Fast-Charging Standard Is Now!

January 1st, 2016 by  

The EV charging network is the gas station network for EV owners — the only place to fill up and top off when out on the town, driving around the fringes of an EV’s range. What’s more, charging up an EV takes longer than fueling up an ICE vehicle, so the quantity and availability of charging stations makes a huge impact on the functionality of EVs. To further complicate matters, the growing fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that don’t have the same “need” to charger can frequently be found charging at public EV charging locations, blocking out battery electric vehicle (BEV) drivers that, as a result, might not be able to get the charge they need to continue to their destination.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Image Credit: Shutterstock

As BEVs and PHEVs increase in popularity, the current public EV charging infrastructure will also need to be scaled up to support the fleet. The lack of an EV fast charging standard further complicates the landscape, fragmenting the already struggling infrastructure with several standards competing for dominance, and manufacturers are drawing lines in the sand and picking teams to determine which standard will reign supreme.

Where We Came From — Level 2 Charging

With the initial deployment of EVs, what we now call Level 2 chargers were deployed far and wide to incentivize the public to purchase electric vehicles. These chargers provide charging rates of 6.6 kilowatt-hours for each hour of charging. In a Leaf, that equates to around 24 miles of range per hour of charging. These chargers were a fantastic start at developing a public charging network and gave early adopters the confidence to purchase a $30,000 vehicle with a reduced range.

Level 2 public chargers allowed people to extend the practical range of their EVs with just a few hours of charging required to top off their charge before heading on to another destination. Level 2 chargers are now installed in garages of many EV owners and the public network of chargers has only continued to grow as EV adoption has increased.

Building a Better System — Early DC Fast Charging

To complement these chargers, Level 3 chargers — or DC fast chargers — have started popping up. Level 3 chargers brought a significant advantage to the table in terms of charging speed and were able to push ~19 kWhs in a 30-minute session, equating to the addition of roughly 80% of the charge or an extra 76 miles of range. Charging rates slow as the battery nears the 90% full range, so, your mileage may vary.

DC fast chargers have grown into the gas stations of the EV charging network in most areas, as they allow ~80% charge in the time it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee or grab a bite to eat.

Similar to early Level 2 chargers, Level 3 chargers are expensive, with installations requiring significant electrical infrastructure in addition to a hardware cost upwards of $100,000 each in the US. Due to the high capital cost required to install Level 3 chargers, early installations have been slower and mostly implemented by companies dedicated to charging infrastructure like NRG EVgo and ChargePoint. These chargers started popping up in major cities, then made their way into smaller cities across the nation.

DC Fast Charging Today

Which brings us to today. In the southwestern United States, we have a healthy network of Level 2 chargers supported by a sprinkling of Level 3 DC fast chargers. On top of this mature network, EV sales have ramped up and are weighing heavily on our primarily Level 2 charging network. Many modern EVs are equipped with fast charging capability, with many supporting higher speeds than the current networks even provide. As we approach the next step change in EVs — with ranges of 200 miles requiring batteries of 60 kilowatt-hours and more — we are again approaching a point where even our fastest chargers today will not meet the needs of the masses.

CHAdeMO

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Kia Soul EV CHAdeMO Adapter (on right) | Image Credit: Kyle Field

CHAdeMO plugs are the size of a large firehose, making its charging cables unwieldy, and it is the fast charging adapter of choice for the Kia Soul EV, Citroen, Mitsubishi EVs, Peugots, and of course, Nissan and the established Leaf (as an option). CHAdeMO offers charging speeds of up to 70 kW, with real-life 30-minute charging sessions delivering just over 19 kWh of charge or around 75 miles of extra range (on a Nissan Leaf). CHAdeMO is seeing extremely rapid adoption in Japan, with around 5,500 stations deployed today (crazy considering how small Japan is!). The US — specifically, California — is ramping up deployment of CHAdeMO stations quickly as well, where over 1,300 stations have been deployed.

SAE Combined Charging Solution

Competing with CHAdeMO for the DC fast charging crown is the newer SAE Combined Charging Solution (aka SAE Combo, or CCS), which is a standard J1772 plug with 2 additional DC fast charging ports below it (hence the combo moniker). This newer standard is the fast charging standard of choice for Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche, and Volkswagen. Most notably, this port can be found on the BMW i3, the Chevrolet Spark EV, and the Volkswagen eGolf. Combo adapters are similar in size to CHAdeMO, though due to the utilization of the existing J1772 plug, only require a single port on the car, whereas CHAdeMO requires 2 separate on-vehicle ports.

These Combo plugs offer maximum speeds of up to 90 kW (DC Level 2) with theoretical speeds of up to 240 kW. In real life, SAE Combo charge rates are comparable to CHAdeMO, delivering roughly 80% of the range of ~100 mile EVS in a 30-minute fast charging session.

sc_solo

Tesla Supercharger in Oxnard, CA | Image Credit: Kyle Field

Supercharged

Finally, the Tesla charging format supports all charging levels from Level 1 (normal wall outlets at 110 volts) up to the Tesla-only DC Supercharging network which boasts the fastest broadly available charging speeds, cranking up to 400 miles of range per hour (design rate) with a real-world miles delivered in 30 minutes of Supercharging sitting at 170 miles. This does not scale up linearly (170 x 2 = 340 miles of range delivered per hour), as charging slows when the battery approaches capacity — but it’s still extremely impressive and much faster than any other fast charging standard with a substantial deployed footprint.

The Tesla charging standard is also much more compact than the other standards and can be used for all charging speeds — from 110v wall charging @ 15 amps all the way up to Supercharging.

The Road to the Future

Where to from here? Ultimately, the market will decide which manufacturer and, thus, which standard prevails. Manufacturers are realizing the negative sales impact the current, scattered public charging network is having and building out branded charging networks. Much like the VHS vs Beta or the HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray battles of the past, fragmented landscapes rarely last for long. We will likely converge on a single standard, but the longer the transition is drawn out, the more consumers — and EV adoption rates — will suffer. We need a fast charging standard now to give manufacturers and consumers confidence in EVs long into the future.

Several clear paths exist — though, with sides having already been chosen, no option will be pain-free. An NGO or charging alliance could be formed as a neutral self-governing body to select a dominant standard moving forward. Though, this is challenging as these organizations cost money and offer little financial upside for participants. Government mandates can also create results and that feels like what may be required to unify manufacturers as an effort to protect consumers from non-value-added infrastructure fragmentation.

Whatever the path forward, the time for action is now. Consumers are calling out for a single EV fast charging standard to carry us several decades into the future….


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About the Author

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need.



  • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

    There’s no reason, nor need, to upset the fragile and nascent EV charging infrastructure with a demand for one standard.

    Gasoline has happily coexisted with diesel for generations (as well as hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, etc), and there is no reason that CHAdeMO, CCS and Supercharger can’t coexist for many years or even generations in to the future.

  • Wayne Williamson

    cool article and cool comments. In my mind, having a standard wireless induction charger should be next in importance. Think about it…you don’t have to plug or unplug anything….just say’n….

  • hybridbear

    When the CHAdeMO port is large, the hose is cumbersome & the car requires two ports for J1772 & CHAdeMO, what’s the advantage of CHAdeMO over CCS that Nissan chose CHAdeMO? It seems like CCS is better than CHAdeMO & Tesla’s connector is better than CCS. I’d be interested in an article that explains the technical reasons behind Nissan’s decision to go CHAdeMO & why they think it’s better than CCS. Does anyone know of a link to such an article?

    • IronicSuperDave

      CHAdeMO was designed and implemented first. So why wouldn’t NISSAN and other Japanese manufacturers use it?

      The question should be why didn’t CCS adopt the CHAdeMO standard? Clearly the answer to this is CCS is thought to be a better solution.

      Looks like we’ll be stuck with competing standards for some time.

  • Ed

    If we are voting, I vote to adopt the Tesla configuration…especially if Tesla could show that it can keep the same plug configuration and later upgrade to 800 volts with the capability to detect the specific needs of the vehicle attached. With the ability to go to the higher voltage, I suggest that gives electric vehicles at least a couple of decades of growth before it is time to consider “something else.”

  • Jamset

    That image shows the Tesla USA plug not the Tesla EU plug.

  • ROBwithaB

    Or maybe not…
    Still a lot of development coming in batteries. And lots of experimentation into the best configurations for specific applications.
    Might be a bit early yet to force everyone to use a system that may well prove to be obsolete in a few years’ time.

    The simple answer for now might be to mandate that all publicly available chargers provide at least two of the current formats.

  • energymatters

    The cat is out of the bag and the only format that can work with 100% of the vehicles on the road is high amperage AC.

    With 4 different DC formats three is no base to support the sustainable economics of a DC network as no format has more than 15% of the vehicles on the road.

    The J1772 allows for 80Amps of AC charging (~80 miles of range per hour) and is accepted on 100% of the vehicles being built

    Beta was better picture but VHS won the day. Food for thought.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The issue is not which percentage of today’s cars can be charged, but what’s the best solution in the long run. It’s unlikely that we’ll see EVs with less than ~200 mile ranges in the futre. These early generation low range EVs will almost certainly drift away.

      • Freddy D

        Exactly. Then the J1772 becomes an at-home (including apartments) system for overnight, not a public charger very often. The main public charger market then focuses on DCFC strictly for the longer journeys. And for this use case, they really need to dump at least a couple hundred miles of driving in the car in 30 minutes. All of the extensive around-town driving can be handled with the overnight charge.

  • Zero_X_Rider

    Liquid and gaseous fuels do not have a single filling standard and never can. Why on earth, then, would the author or anyone else think that electric would? Let’s hear a summary from the author first of a fuels manager perspective of liquid and gaseous refueling standards (there are very many) to establish some credibility to then better discuss fast charging. Hint: some charging stations can vary charging rates for different situations. Therein lies a big chunk of the future.

  • Very good article Kyle. One thing worthwhile mentioning is that CHAdeMO can also be ramped up to reach the same theoretical charge rate as the CCS system. Both are very similar, with SSC having a one adapter difference. Both will ramp up the charge rate.

    I’m still not thrilled at all how the SAE handled the introduction of its CCS system. We didn’t need another BetaMax versus VHS war. CHAdeMO worked well and is a de facto standard worldwide. It can, and will be improved on its own. It should have helped, not come out with its own. We just didn’t need another system at this curcial time that, as you rightfully mention, splinters and eventually slows down EV adoption. I have a hard time finding CCS stations here in Los Angeles, while CHAdeMO are common.

    Ideally, I’d like to see a combo of both, not expensive stations with CHAdeMO and CCS. We need to simplify things and make them more affordable and easy to use, not more complicated.

    CHAdeMO needs to adopt the single adapter good idea from the SAE and the SAE should have used the de facto CHAdeMO, already available system. This was a silly war that hurts consumers again.

    Ultimately, Tesla’s system is the right way to go and now that it’s “open” to the competition, carmakers should use it, or make it available to everyone.

    • Freddy D

      Tesla’s system is open to the other car makers? if it’s technically the best, what are they waiting for?

      we definitely have a VHS vs. Betamax vs. Hi8 war going on with the three standards, and it will simply have to play out.
      1) Tesla simply won’t convert to one of the other standards – ain’t gonna happen
      2) Most DCFC chargers today are CHAdeMO
      3) Most automakers have sided with CCS. And yet, this is the LEAST built out of the 3 standards.

      Point 3 is most interesting to me. Get a full network of CCS built out on the Electric Highways, and let the market play out.

      • Tesla’s charging system opened up to the competition early last year. Tesla has no need to convert to other systems, since its implementation of fastcharging is technical better. And man, check out that adaptor! And yes, traditional carmakers are still carrying that tiresome old business model of ganging up and trying to muscle out other players. As Seven of Nine could have said: “Crude, but effective.”

        Agreed with your number 2 and still as puzzled about number 3 as ever. In the end, traditional carmakers need to catch up to the newer players by innovating and playing with them, and not muscle in yesterday’s outdated business tactics and holding us back. Instead of spending billions on marketing, they should understand people have less and less tolerance these days.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    When the packs become truly large I think they will always be made swappable. Maybe even standardized across automakers.

    • Foersom

      It would be a good idea, if they can agree to 3-5 standard sizes. If everyone makes their own size, like mobile phone or camera batteries then forget about it.

      Petrol stations could become the places for battery swap, but those companies likely will do everything they can to pretend that electrification will never really happen.

  • Rob Kay

    Electrical Safety is a key issue: a Tesla recently self-immolated in Norway whilst charging, so I would be very wary of the Tesla standard until it can be proven. Chademo is the most useful and prevalent in the UK and Japan, but triple headed posts are commonplace here now. Ultimately, sure, who wouldn’t like to get a charge in five minutes, and the Chinese seem to be developing some very exciting solutions. That’s why I don’t own my EV, I lease it. I don’t wish to end up with a dodo car.

    • Tesla Superchargers are in use by a couple of hundred thousand Model S vehicles today. We have no idea why a single car caught fire a few days ago. It’s EXTREMELY premature to claim superchargers are “unproven”.

      Gasoline cars burn up almost routinely. Are gas pumps “unproven”?

      • Foersom

        > a couple of hundred thousand Model S vehicles today

        That is wildly over-estimated. There is only 105 K Tesla S sold by end 2015.

        https://my.teslamotors.com/nl_NL/forum/forums/how-many-cars-sold-2014-and-2015

        • TedKidd

          Red Herring, unless you agree your whole position becomes wrong once 200k is reached.

          There are LOTS of cars. One event of unknown cause is a very weak position.

          • Foersom

            What? By end 2015 there is 105 K Tesla S sold.

          • TedKidd

            And therefore your position goes from not holding water to being brilliant? Don’t think so.

    • Freddy D

      “Self-immolated” – 🙂 had to look that one up. Like drummers on Spinal Tap spontaneously combusting.

  • MorinMoss

    I propose the JUTs standard – Just Use Tesla’s

  • Foersom

    The texts under the photo with the Mennekes plugs are wrong. The left one is a CCS type 2, the right one is a Mennekes (AC) plug and also used used by Tesla S internationally.

    “2. SAE J1772 Combo supports up to 100 kWh”. No, must be 100 kW.

    “3. Tesla … supports 120 kW” and the same does the Mennekes plug.

    • MorinMoss

      The Tesla Supercharger plug currently supports 135 kW and since they’re now using a liquid-cooled cable, it may go even higher.

      • Foersom

        Quite the opposite. When you need to use a liquid cooled cable to make it work, it is because you are over-stretching the technology.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Huh?

          The option is to use a much larger, heavier hunk of copper. This is finessing the technology.

          • Foersom

            Yes, they are over-strecthing the current that the cable and plug can handle, that is why need to use a patch solution like this.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tesla isn’t overstretching anything.

            Want to charge up in a hurry? Then you need to move a boatload of electrons PDQ.

            Want the driver to be able to lift the cable? Then do something creative rather than sending a lot owners off for hernia operations.

          • Foersom

            The cable gauge is not meant for so high current so they have to add the complicated liquid cooling solution. It is like over-clocking a CPU with the use of liquid cooling. You can strech it some beyond the intended specs, but it is not basis for further power up increases. It is a fragile system. What if the hose or fittings starts leaking cooling liquid? Hopefully the cable also has temperature sensors every 20 cm.

            The simpler solution to higher power delivery will be to double the voltage to 800 V, like next generation chargers.

            Alternative method would be to have cars that use battery swap.

          • Kyle Field

            The upside of Tesla chargers is that they own the infrastructure and actually care about making it better, all the time. This is the latest iteration of maxing out the current 400v based stations. I fully expect the cord to change with the hop to 800v as you mentioned but that is a full-platform upgrade and would likely require quite a bit more than just new superchargers but also new utility owned transformers, upstream transmission line upgrades etc…

          • TedKidd

            Lol.

            “Meant for” as defined by some higher power?

            “God didn’t mean for that copper cable to carry that about of current!!”

          • Foersom

            I know it can be difficult to accept but even popular brand names has to adhere to the laws of physics. As you are obviously a religious person, think of it as god wrote the laws of physics.

            The max current through a cable is not a hard target, it depends on materials resistivity, acceptable power loss, acceptable temperature rise and isolation. Using liquid cooling is a patch solution.

          • TedKidd

            So somehow Tesla is rewriting laws of physics to fit their needs?

            “Patch solution?” Is that a technical term used by physicists? I doubt very much they are rolling out these liquid cooled chargers as a temporary patch. I guess we’ll see.

            I think maybe they’re being creative and innovative, and this makes you uncomfortable because you’re thinking leans toward dogmatic.

          • Bubba Nicholson

            Actually silver would be best.

        • ROBwithaB

          I thought that the cooling allows for a thinner, more flexible cable.
          Resistance increases as temperature increases, yes?

          • Foersom

            > Resistance increases as temperature increases, yes?

            Yes higher resistance when higher temperature. That is a compounding problem with positive feedback until you adjust the current down. However the main problem is that the heat makes the cable to hot to handle and could damage (wear out) or burn the isolation. So they add the cooling complexity to mitigate the heat.

            A better design would be to avoid the heat in the first place.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Given the physical limit of the least strong driver what would your solution be?

            One would be robo-cables. Along the lines of the Tesla snake. Got a better idea?

          • Foersom

            If it has to be charging (as opposed to battery swap), best would be to have a robot operated charging port sitting under the car at the front. This charge port would have the same connections as e.g. CCS CharIN but with different layout and larger contact pads for high current transfer.

            To use it car drives forward into parking space. Wireless communication identify car to charging robot and gives approximate position of chrge port e.g. 40 cm from left edge, 30 cm from front. Car opens dirt cover over charge port. Robot arm moves under front of the car and scans for the location of the plug. Once connected with the connections for proximity pilot, control pilot, protective earth and DC charge pads the charging will start.

            As it is a robot arm it is not a problem to use huge wires that cannot be handled by normal person.

            With placement under car at front of the car the parking procedure becomes easy and standardized. It will also fit for automated parking houses where the car parks itself or for underground parking where you leave the car at street level and an elevator system parks the car on a shelf underground.

            Same charge system could also be used for buses and lorries.

          • Dan

            That sounds a little more complicated than a liquid cooled cable…

          • Foersom

            A liquid cooled cable is stop gap quick fix like using liquid cooling to overclock a CPU. It is not a basis for future increases. What I explained is a scalable solution that will work for even charging at MW levels and in automated car parks.

          • Dan

            I see how your system has the advantages for automation and MW levels bc of no weight restriction. Maybe I don’t understand the ‘superconductive’ effect or the energy required to maintain cooling it, but i thought that a liquid cooled cable could achieve far higher power loads, maybe even MWs someday. Wouldn’t a leak in coolent change volt or amps and be detectable by the charger which would shut off the power if it sensed a drastic change in the cables performance? How hard could it be to make a durable coolent cord that wouldn’t leak in the first place? Systems like yours do sound like the way of the future… cars parking themselves to charge would require it plugs itself in

          • Bob_Wallace

            If charging moves to higher amperage then it might require some sort of robotic connection. There’s a limit to how heavy/stiff the cable can be made if drivers are going to make the connection.

            We’ve discussed robotic chargers before. I don’t think the idea of going underground and under the car is the best idea. Better to keep the connection at a higher level so that dirt/grit/water is not a major problem.
            By using a three jointed ‘arm’ where the ‘bones’ are connectors as well as structural components there should be significant movement to allow the car to be less than perfectly parked for charging. And near perfect parking can be accomplished by the sort of simple plastic guides for the right front tire.

            I’m sure Tesla considered larger cable vs. cooled smaller cable including energy loss. This is probably what works best for now. Including a temperature sensor (or multiple sensors) in the system is simple tech. Temp rises above what is expected = shut ‘er down.

          • Foersom

            Tesla’s cable is just copper or aluminium, nothing to do with superconductor. Those are ceramic materials that needs to be at -180 C.

            Tesla’s cable gets hot because they are pulling a lot of ampere (up to ~330 A) through a too thin cable. The heat is lost power. They then spend additional power to pump a cooling liquid to get rid of the heat. If the cable gets a leak let us hope that they sensors to detect it, otherwise you risk fire and short-circuit.

            Automated car parks:
            http://car-park-solutions.lodige.com/Car-Parking-Technology.html

          • Dan

            Very good points. Autopilot cars could park themselves with extremely effecient use of space in a car park like that too. I suppose i still hope super-conductors are someday also a part of the design. Lots of savings from less materials might result. Huge copper or aluminum plugs may be more expensive than advanced superconducting ceramics in a few decades. I’ll have to look into the trends on that tech

          • Bob_Wallace

            Autonomous driving cars could be stored in ‘ferris wheels’ and automatically charged while parked. First in, first out should mean that cars would be fully charged when called for.

            http://g02.s.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1fcebJXXXXXaiapXXq6xXFXXX1/Automated-space-saving-car-parking-system-vertical.jpg

          • Dan

            Nice, perfect for cities. That would definitely end up using way less space than a typical parking garage. More room for urban gardens or other public spaces

          • eveee

            Psst. I do. Electrical engineers increase voltage to lower current.
            No sense in trying to beat a dead horse. You are stuck with current if you don’t raise voltage. At some point its too hard to lower resistance.
            FYI, the Prius already does that internally. It raises the battery voltage to apply to the motor. That lowers the motor size.

  • Carl Raymond S

    I remember following the story during the lead up to the development of the SAE J1722 standard. I came to the conclusion that the auto manufacturers were doing their damnedest to produce a plug which would provide maximum impedence (practically, not in the electrical sense) to the development of a true alternative to the ICE car. Short version – it was sabotage.

    That’s why Tesla went “FU – we want a plug that allows our car to succeed”.

    • Dragon

      That explanation certainly makes the most sense. Although I think the number of competing standards and limited charging speed of everything but Tesla plugs is far more damaging to EV adoption than a plug that’s twice as big. Especially since bigger is always better in Murica!

      • Kyle Field

        I always think back to the time my 4 and 6 year old boys tried to plug in my leaf with the CHAdeMO and just couldn’t do it. Can’t wait to see them use the Tesla adapter with no issues. They even struggled with the J1772 which is only slightly larger than the Tesla adapter but does not accommodate DCFC.

        • Bubba Nicholson

          Is that child abuse? Reckless endangerment? Do you let the boys fill up the oil car with gasoline? No.

          • Kyle Field

            Um…what?

          • TedKidd

            What a dumb thing to say. Much safer than plugging in a toy.

            Besides, at wgat point do you start teaching children self reliance, 13? By 5 I was cutting our lawn and plowing the driveway with our tractor.

          • Kyle Field

            That’s what I’m talking about. Incremental on the job learning. The more they know, the safer it gets 🙂 Gotta love actually training kids for the real world vs hoping the real world has been made ready for incapable kids disguised as adults…

          • eveee

            A J1772 Is safer than a wall plug. And safer than a gas pump. No electricity goes to the connector until after a connection is established and no contact can be made with voltage. After that, GFCI is enabled.

            http://tec.ieee.org/2013/09/29/safety-electric-vehicle-supply-equipment/

            I would prefer adults use the plugs and children were kept away. The problem is children sticking things into the connectors.

    • TedKidd

      Wow. Nicely written!

  • eveee

    Nice post, great graphics. What charging standards do most people use? Lets venture that most people predominantly use home charging. That narrows it to J1772 Level 1 and 2 charging. I don’t think anything is being sold anymore without meeting J1772. Then the fight over standards is down to DCFC, yes?
    From the pictures showing the size and bulk, and given the fast charging limitations, I am inclined to think the Tesla unit is preferrable.

    • Kyle Field

      Yes, J1772 is the dominant standard for L2. We need a DCFC standard moving forward. 🙂 Having used CHAdeMO, seen many SAE Combo and now having used quite a few Tesla chargers, I can say that speed wise, flexibility wise (one charger for L1, L2, DCFC up to high charge rates), distribution, consistency…Tesla wins hands down across the board.

      The only drawback is that they are proprietary but that’s more of a limitation that manufacturers create by not choosing the superior standard.

      • eveee

        So why not just adopt the Tesla standard? It won’t interfere with Level 1 and 2, so lets make progress. Has Tesla prevented other mfrs from using their plug as a standard?

        • Kyle Field

          My understanding is that the Tesla US standard is open and can be used freely by others. Using the tesla stations would require manufacturers to pay for their share of the electricity. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

          • eveee

            Don’t you wish no brainers actually were no brainers and we did them? Yes, the Tesla plug looks like an obvious winner. Maybe IEEE and SAE could update it and add it to their spec compatibly. Now that would be a no brainer. Or rather, why hasn’t it already been done.

      • Foersom
  • Foersom

    Kyle Field; this article is missing to explain about the CharIN specifications for CCS.

    http://www.charinev.org/

  • Benjamin Nead

    One of the best comments I remember hearing on the issue of standards is that there are so many good ones to choose from. As noted already, there are technologically advanced countries that have multiple standards for household electrical outlets . . . and we’ve been wiring residential dwellings for electricity for over a hundred years now.

    For residential use (120V or 240V, up to 50A) – at least in North America – the de facto standard is and should continue to be the J1772 plug. Every OEM EV should be able to work with the J1772 or, if the manufacturer insists on their own connector configuration (ie: Tesla,) be strongly influenced to supply an adaptor to physically and electrically mate with a J1772.

    The most technically and aestetically elegant setup for high speed charging today is Tesla’s. But corporate pride (ie: “not invented here”) among Asian, European and the big U.S. OEMs will encourage the continued deployment of CHAdeMO and CCS for many years to come. I think we’re stuck with what we’ve got and simply have to plead with the commercial entities who install high speed charging infrastructure along highways to supply equipment with multiple plug standards . . . in much the same way we have different pump nozzles for gasoline and diesel.

    Super high speed or so-called Level 4 charging? With the increased capacity of battery packs on upper end EVs of the future, I don’t see the trouble and expense of developing such a standard (or standards) being worth it . . . at least on a consumer level. Once we get to relatively affordable EVs that can travel at constant freeway speed limits for 350 miles or more, current Level 3 iterations will work just fine for almost everyone.

    • Foersom

      > The most technically and aestetically elegant setup for high speed charging today is Tesla’s.

      Tesla uses 3 different plugs. The Tesla S uses 2 different plugs, one for North-America and one for international.

      • Benjamin Nead

        Yes, I see your point. I thought it was silly for Tesla to establish a plug standard for the Roadster, only to abandon it just a few years later when the Model S was introduced. But this latter one is what they’ve stuck with for North America. It’s already the most electrically robust (120kW) and physically the smallest in size.

        The decision by Tesla to go with a different plug design in Europe was determined by standards there. Given their druthers, it’s safe to assume that they would have preferred to use their North American plug there as well . . .

        http://insideevs.com/tesla-model-s-charging-inlet-in-europe/

        • Foersom

          It is not just in Europe that Tesla S use Mennekes plug, it is pretty much everywhere, also in e.g. China. The advantage is that beside DC super charging the Mennekes plug makes it possible to charge by AC either 1 phase or 3-phases, that makes it very easy to install charging at home or car parks.

          The Tesla S North-America plug can only charge by DC and needs a converter to charge from a home AC plug.

          That makes the Mennekes plug the most versatile and physically it is also a small plug. It would be smart move for Tesla to use this also in North-America.

          • Benjamin Nead

            OK. This wouldn’t be the first case of an American manufacturer providing something better on their
            export product than what they provide here.
            But do you think Tesla would backtrack to make
            the Mennekes plug their new standard in
            the US? Something tells me it’s a bit late in the game
            for them to do that now.

          • Dragon

            They would only have to retrofit what, 75,000 cars at this point (guessing) and 200 superchargers (also guessing)? Whatever the number, it’s easier to make a change now than wait longer. Then again, I don’t see any very compelling reason to change since people don’t often take their cars across the Atlantic or Pacific. If they do, then can be altered at that point. Or an adapter can be made.

          • Benjamin Nead

            I’m not against Telsa changing their North American standard and adopting what they use for the rest of the world here. In fact, I’d be in favor of them doing so . . . get it out of the way before there’s even more market penetration and establishing a true worldwide standard with maximum electrical flexibility and growth potential. But WILL they do it? Probably not.

          • Dragon

            I think these two links reveal why Tesla went with different standards in North America vs the rest of the world:
            http://insideevs.com/tesla-model-s-charging-inlet-in-europe/
            http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/archive/index.php/t-24938.html

            Basically, the Mennekes connector was already a standard for chargers in EU so Tesla beefed it up a little to allow it to run supercharger currents using 3-phase power.

            In N.A., SAE J1772 was already the standard level 2 charger connector used everywhere so Tesla used its protocol but again beefed the electrical connection to support supercharging. Since Tesla’s connector runs the SAE protocol, you can use a simple dumb connector to adapt it to SAE J1772 level 2 chargers.

            Maybe the Mennekes connector could be used on all cars with some sort of auto detection for the charger protocol used in EU vs NA but that might not be electrically possible. If it _is_ possible, then it’s likely that Tesla didn’t plan ahead well enough to realize they needed a 3-phase charger solution for EU when they designed the NA plugs. They may also like the elegance of the NA plugs being smaller and not having extra pins for 3 phase that will never be used here.

          • Foersom

            > Maybe the Mennekes connector could be used on all cars with some sort of auto detection for the charger protocol used in EU vs NA but that might not be electrically possible.

            It is the same protocol. IEC 62196 standard. Electrically Mennekes uses PLC signalling, I believe it is the same for SAE.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEC_62196

          • Dragon

            Hey, good find. Although the more I think about it, the more I feel I’d rather keep the smaller connector in areas where Mennekes public chargers will never penetrate.

          • Foersom

            In North-America the 3 phases input of the Mennekes plug would simply be able to act as 3 conduits for the current from a single phase source. As the car is charging batteries it does not matter that the 3 phases are in sync. A US source with 240 V 80 A would simply be 26.7 A per phase, which would fit with the 32 A charge class of the car. A 50 A source would act as 16 A per phase for the car.

            The physical size difference between the Mennekes D shape and the SAE circle with 2 outwards tab is negligible.

            http://www.charinev.org/ccs-at-a-glance/ccs-specification/

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            Three points.
            (i) indeed the single phase wall connector supplied with new Teslas in Australia has L1, L2 and L3 joined and feeding the same single phase current to the Mennekes 3 phase socket in the car.
            (ii) because the Mennekes socket is a little larger than the single phase socket fitted to North American Teslas there is not room for the color LED ring that features on that socket, instead color LEDs are mounted in the adjacent tail light to do the same job.
            (iii) while it would have been nice to have the one socket type on all Model S and Model X vehicles there are so many legislative differences between vehicles sold to different markets one extra difference does not complicate things much more than they already are. For instance in Australia there is no browser internet access or Model S rear facing rear child seats allowed and I have no doubt there would be other region specific differences.

          • Foersom

            (i) Thank you for this practical example. It demonstrates my exaplanation above how a 3 phase car can use a 1 phase wall supply.

            (ii) Yes, the Tesla design team really blew it when they designed the charge port that small. Have they corrected it for the new tail lights on Model X?

            (iii) The less different components the car have you gain on larger production volumes and less logistics and storage of components. This is especially true for a low scale production volume like Tesla. Sometimes you can not get around it like US laws with side mirrors with “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”. But to cut down on component variations is a good idea.

            > For instance in Australia there is no browser internet access or Model S rear facing rear child seats allowed

            That one is easy enough, that can simply be handled as change in software. Likely it is present in the software for all Tesla cars and the car simply is setup (or detects) that it is in Australia.

          • Foersom

            They could introduce it at their next car model and just have both types at their charger network. Have they done it before? They did change after the roadster.

            The advantage would be that they can manufacture one car that be sold to all markets.

          • The Roadster doesn’t support fast charging, unfortunately. The upgraded batteries still don’t, to my surprise.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Hmmm, an interesting thought. The Model 3 gets the Euro/Mennekes/Tesla plug from the start . . . worldwide.
            This could also be the start of a business model that
            modifies unlimited-for-life Supercharger access, which
            is probably going to have to be addressed anyway.

            Legacy cars with the current North American plugs
            – S and X – always charge for free. Give the early
            adopters that cookie as long as they keep driving
            those cars. But, at some point, switch the production
            line on those models over to the new plug.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            I’d agree with you about Tesla using the Mennekes plug in North-America if it were not already so well established there.
            The Mennekes plug works fine for Australian Teslas but it is far too late to expect Tesla to fit Mennekes sockets to all new North-American Teslas and a second plug and cable to each SuperCharger so that the existing fleet and new Tesla vehicles could both use the SuperCharger network.

    • Freddy D

      Agree with you on J1772 for overnight charging – yes, that’s the standard today and it should continue. J1772 is completely impractical for a long journey though, even in a car with Tesla range.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    It’s a bit hard to standardize an evolving technology. And then the article seems to suggest standardization is needed to ensure a future of speedy charge times. Which is impossible given we don’t have the infrastructure or technology yet.

    Perhaps a subset could be standardized. Like for instance the connections? A connection that could handle perhaps 10x to 100x what the current Tesla SCs push out now? After all we would like charging to be done in under three minutes. And at some point the 18 wheel trucks will need to use batteries. Their battery packs will probably be 10x or more the current Tesla sized batteries. So an adapter handling 100x the power a current Tesla SC handles is not wildly crazy.

    Then let technology catch up on the backend needed to handle these crazy high power demands…

    • nakedChimp

      You’re proposing that they look FAR ahead?
      🙂

      • Ivor O’Connor

        lol, yeah, wtf am I thinking right?! This is Murica. Nobody thinks ahead.

        • eveee

          Land of free dumb.

    • Kyle Field

      After driving 1200+ miles on the supercharger network in 36 hours, I can say that a shorter charge time would be fantastic. I agree with your proposal to define and align on a future-scalable connector as the best first step. The plug is the key…from there we can define the incremental compatibility levels, back end hardware, charging speeds at each level, onboard charging requirements, etc.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Lot of mileage!

        I don’t really see the speeds improving much. Though with larger battery packs and newer larger SCs Tesla will be able to pump in max power for longer periods of time. Minimizing your times at a pump by never charging past 80% or so. When the battery pack capacity doubles and the SC locations get to be every 50 miles apart those long trips should become comparable to an ICE vehicle.

        • Freddy D

          Kyle and Ivor, There’s another benefit to a connector with faster speeds: Heavier vehicles. Busses, medium haul trucks, etc. It would be great to have standards at that end of the spectrum too.

        • Kyle Field

          That’s what I have been doing. Charging up to 80% then moving on to the next charger. I did let it top up twice which took 75 minutes. Not terrible but not something folks are going to want to do every 3-4 hours. Stopping for 30 mins ever 2-3 hours is a very natural frequency…just a bit more frequent than my bladder required but not a major inconvenience.

  • Jenny Sommer

    Any idea about that 800V Mission E Porsche charger?

  • JamesWimberley

    Your ballpark hardware cost of $100,000 for a fast charger looks very high, in a rapidly growing market. Here’s a report that 50-kw CHADEMO chargers cost $16,500 each ex works in bulk in 2013 (link).

    • Kyle Field

      That was a dated number and I admittedly could not find a source for it. As you noted, costs have dropped significantly since…down under $10k is fairly common now though I would venture to guess that the prices quoted are just for the charger and do not include the extra utility hardware, installation which are paid by whoever is putting the chargers in…

  • mike_dyke

    We keep talking about charging cars here, what are the options for trucks (both light and heavy)? shouldn’t there needs be considered as well in any standard?

    • kvleeuwen

      Their needs might result in very different solutions – battery swapping, electrolyte swapping, induction charging on the freeway, panthographs, or simply multiple plugs/sockets run in parallel so the cables do not grow to double firehose size 🙂

    • Jenny Sommer

      Synfuels till batteries are cheap enough (20€/kWh?) Then you could use automated charge pads at high voltages.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Batteries at $100/kWh should be cheap enough. More than cheap enough.

        • Jenny Sommer

          For heavy trucks?
          I guess it depends on how often you can charge.
          For automated trucks driving 24/7 some hours if chargetime per day might not matter.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I did some back of envelop guesstimating for running 18-wheelers, the big trucks we use in the US, on batteries. The idea was to swap battery packs every 200 miles. Here’s the battery cost part…

            Once the Gigafactory is running full speed cells should be $100/kWh or less and packs could be around $150/kWh Six 85 kWh packs would be under $80k.

            20,000 gallons of fuel, 160,000 miles per year? At $3.50/gallon that is $70k. Battery pack is paid off in just over one year.

            Not included, electricity for charging batteries. Oil changes (expensive), brake rebuilds and engine maintenance for diesels.

            (Battery packs should be $130/kWh or less with cells at $100/kWh.)

          • MorinMoss

            Heavy trucks are one area where I see fuel-cells as potentially useful apart from stationary storage.

        • ROBwithaB

          All that needs to happen for Jenny’s number to come true is a swift devaluation of the dollar. 🙂

  • Alexis Boom

    Guys, you keep forgetting about 43+kwAC fast charging.

    Level 3 charging also includes AC fast charging which is faster than Chademo.

    Also as someone else mentioned, Tesla moved to the Mennekes Type 2 connector for their Superchargers which is the same connector now used all over Europe since we standardised from Type 3 to 2.

    Don’t get confused, the Tesla Roadster used a different plug from the Model S and X.

  • Shane 2

    Maybe the IEEE can take on the task of producing a standard. Governments could then assist by subsidizing build-out of infrastructure based on that standard. CCS has room to grow given the 240 kW limit. CCS probably has the inside running, not that my crystal ball has a good track record. Hmm … too many metaphors.

    • Steve Grinwis

      The SAE is the relevant body, and they produced the CCS plug. The SAE is the IEEE of cars.

      • kvleeuwen

        They produced 2 incompatible plugs, both called CCS.
        So the SAE proved to be unable to provide the world with one standard…

        • Foersom

          > They produced 2 incompatible plugs, both called CCS.

          The same thing can also be said about the Tesla (Model S) plug.

          • kvleeuwen

            Indeed.
            At least they picked an existing standard instead of inventing yet another 🙂

      • Matt

        There are two things that make this much harder than people credit.
        1) The technology under went at lot of change in the last 10 years. And is still evolving.
        2) Believe it or not, companies like to fight in the standard committees to try to get an advantage over others making similar products.
        3) Different countries, like to back their home companies; to try to give them an advantage.
        So let us assume for 30 seconds that one of the above charging approaches was really the “best”. I don’t have the knowledge to say which it is but just to stir the pot let me say the TESLA supercharger “standard”. It has the widest range and highest upper end. Now assume it is updated to include V2G capability, if not there already.
        Oh great we have the one standard in the lightness to bind them.
        Now you might guess that many companies would not want it picked as the one standard.
        Is there one electric plug in the world? The EU is not even there, Japan has two grid standards.
        Technology offen losses in Standards definition, else why is the US still using inches?

        • Jenny Sommer

          Yes, let’s all adopt 230V/50Hz and Europlug/Schuko first 😉

          • Alexis Boom

            We dropped Shucko, we’re all on Mennekes Type 2 now.

          • Jenny Sommer

            Not EVs…lets do Schuko worldwide 😉

          • Alexis Boom

            No seriously, the Type 1 and 3 were fully withdrawn from the EU in 2015.

            We’re all on Mennekes Type 2 now.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            220V or 230V or 240V would be a great idea but 60Hz is still better than 50Hz (more efficient transformers and AC motors, less iron). I once heard that 240V is actually less lethal than 110V because in a typical electrocution situation with 240V the heart muscles clamp while under 110V the lower current tends to cause the heart to go into fibrillation which may continue after the current is removed so the victim dies while in the 240V case once the current ceases the heart has a good chance of spontaneously restarting.
            It is the curse of the early adopters I’m afraid and far too late to change mains voltage or frequency for common power outlets despite US clothe dryer outlets already being of the higher voltage.

          • Jenny Sommer

            Different AC motors (3000 vs 3600rpm). Difference in iron is neglectable (500hz would really make a difference)
            Nighter is ‘better’, the difference is just historical. It just had to be somewhere between 42hz and 125hz. Rumor has it that European countries decided on 50 because it is a decimal normrow number (preferred numbers in E) (R10 – 10/12,5/16/20/25/31,5/40/50/63/80/100) with 60 nowhere to be seen.
            We will never know.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            The difference in iron may appear negligible but it has consequences. Occasionally a wall-wart will catch fire here because a marginal design that was intended for 60Hz has been sold and used in my 50Hz country. Similarly my lathe has an induction motor that has an annoying tendency to trip the circuit breaker when started simply because the lack of iron means the start up inductance is too low (it too being in reality a 60Hz design but with 240V windings) to limit the inrush current to a level below the trip current of its circuit breaker. I now drive that motor via an electronic speed controller (triac based) as a simple work around to limit inrush current. If you live in a 60Hz country you would be spared those annoyances. Of course other considerations make much higher frequencies impractical (transmission losses climb with increasing frequency) but I submit 60Hz is still a better choice than 50Hz. Whatever it is way too late for us or you to change our supply frequency now since the possible benefits would be small and the costs enormous.

          • Jenny Sommer

            When the equptment is designed for the system where would be the advantage for one over the other.
            I live in a 50hz country and never encountered any 60hz equipment.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            The advantage of 60Hz equipment over 50Hz is very small (maybe there is none when you take into account the small increase in transmission loss with the 20% higher frequency) but it comes down to cheaper, faster rotating and lighter electric motors and cheaper and lighter transformers. I was only thinking of if we could start from scratch what would be the best choice. Since we can’t start from scratch it really is of no consequence. I too live in a 50Hz country.

          • Foersom

            > 60Hz is still better than 50Hz

            60 Hz has higher transmission losses. So to compensate you have to install more transformers closer to the user.

            > far too late to change mains voltage or frequency for common power outlets

            Fun fact, Los Angeles US-CA originally used 50 Hz but changed to 60 Hz back in the 1930s.

            About voltage difference, indeed with most modern electric devices it is easy to make power supply modules that can work at both low ~110 V and at high ~230 V.

          • eveee

            But why not have different frequencies and voltages in the same country? Oh yeah. We do.

        • eveee

          Why would companies compete? Why doesn’t the whole world switch to the superior inches system in the US? Why do the English drive on the wrong side of the road? And why does my spell checker refuse sometimes change renewables to renew able?
          But you are right. We could make the one standard that was perfect and no one used, like we use Latin only for science because almost no one speaks it.
          I would like to know what most EV drivers are actually using.

          • Burnerjack

            The superior inches system? LOL! Good one! BTW, How many inches in a mile?…

          • ROBwithaB

            Is the answer: “Not enough”?

          • Burnerjack

            I’ll give you an easier one: how many teaspoons in a hogshead?
            See? Imperial measure is both logical and mathematically easy!

          • eveee

            The whole point is to make conversion difficult so no one asks that question. But really, its 5,280 feet, but not exactly. The real question is how many yards. Hey, what would happen to American football. What would the 10 yard line be?

          • Burnerjack

            Umm, no. There are 63,360 inches in a statute mile.
            There are 72,912 inches in a nautical mile.
            The question was inches/mile, not feet/mile.
            The point is any halfway intelligent person can convert in the metric system with relative ease. The imperial system, not so much. Btuh/hp, whatever, just as awkward.

          • eveee

            True. I was just pointing out that 5,280 ft gets converted to inches easily by multiplying by 12. OK, not so easily, because it’s a bit difficult to do it in your head. Certainly harder than the metric system conversions. But for some real fun, try converting miles to km, or kW to horsepower. Not as easy (or accurate) as the approximation conversion from Centigrade to Fahrenheit.
            The real beauty of the metric system is no need for approximations or accuracy loss in conversion. I remember being stymied by rods and yards. Those are awful. I didn’t know stones existed until later. Acres? Anyone else have a favorite antiquated measurement?

          • Burnerjack

            LOL! All true. for whatever reason, the “cubit” comes to mind…

          • eveee

            Pssst. We still use the ancient Mesopotamian system of hours. Noah still prevails.

          • How about furlongs per fortnight for speed:-).

          • Burnerjack

            I would suggest a relatively minor adjustment to the 10 meter line on a 100 meter long field.

          • eveee

            Probably. That’s easy. The awkward one is what to call it.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            Are you being sarcastic ?
            If not are you aware that the weights and measures as used in the USA are all defined in terms of metric units so in a very real way the US is already on the metric system, but without the advantages that flow from that.

          • eveee

            Yes. Sorry, didn’t post a sarc flag. You make an interesting point. Scientifically, and in terms of official measurements, the US has converted. we should settle on a common fast charger standard.

      • eveee

        Both IEEE and SAE are involved in J1772. Its based on a collaboration between the two bodies. Both auto mechanical and electrical tech are involved. Even UL is involved in some aspects of charging.

        http://gm-volt.com/2011/08/16/saeieee-combo-coupler-offers-flexible-accessibility-to-ac-and-dc-charging/

      • Foersom

        IEC would be the right standard organisation.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEC_62196

    • eveee

      They have. They are involved in J1772. When we talk about what role they play, it gets a bit involved. IEEE is involved in both AC and DCFC standards. SAE is involved with several standards also.
      But the role seems to be in approving standards, not centralizing on one approach. The J1772 helps with safety in AC charging and is pretty much adopted for 120 and 220VAC systems. DC fast charging is where there is a profusion of standards. Blame that on the manufacturers and countries jockeying for position and simply ignoring each other. I do see some justification for Tesla rejecting the other DCFC standards. Musk had some prosaic words for them. They really wouldn’t pass muster at the time.

      Part of the problem lies with the fact that few foresaw the rapid growth of EVs and thought there was time before they became plentiful and all this needed sorting out.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/europe-power-supply-idUSL5E8DD87020120214

      • Steven F

        It is important to keep in mind that there were no DC fast charging standards when the Tesla model S was indesign. Even today most of the DC fast shargers installed in the world are Tesla DC fast chargers.

        • Um, no they aren’t. The most prolific DCFC are CHAdeMO, because Japan was practically carpet bombed with them.

          Tesla has about half as many plugs, but only a tenth or so as many sites, because they wisely congregate their plugs into 4 -8 connector stations to avoid congestion.

          Also, CHAdeMO sites tend to congregate in cities for short range EV recharging around town, while Tesla sites are optimally positioned for road trips.

          So Tesla has fewer plugs, but they are more useful for the coming 200+ mile range EVs.

          CCS has relatively few sites compared to the other two, because it’s a more recent standard.

          If I were king for a day, I’d declare Tesla the One True Standard. In a fair fight, though, I predict CCS will ultimately win – broad multi-vendor support, massive power capacity, single port for both AC and DC, regional differences so the Americans and Europeans can argue incessantly – the VHS of EVs.

          *sigh*

          • Jamset

            Do you know that Tesla plugs are different in USA to Tesla plugs in Europe?

            While an SD card sold in USA is exactly the same as an SD card sold in Asia.

    • CHAdeMO will also ramp up the same rates.

  • Shane 2

    “rates of 6.6 kilowatt-hours for each hour of charging”
    Better known as … a rate of 6.6 kilowatts. If you are going to discuss a rate then please use kilowatts.

    • Alexis Boom

      6.6 kilowatts power hour or just 6.6kWh, otherwise you’re defining that the charging accelerates at 6.6kW each hour 😀

      • eveee

        You have just solved supercharging!

    • MikeM

      Shane2:
      While I generally share your concern about the ignorance and willy-nilly abuse of electrical conventions (the “kilowatts per hour” people have a special place in my heart); I must admit that “6.6 kilowatt-hours for each hour of charging” is actually correct, concise and understandable to the lay person knowing that, e.g. his/her Leaf can hold 24 kilowatt-hours of energy.

      So I have no problem with it.
      That said; on first reading the “6.6 kilowatt-hours for . . . . ” statement I almost went into apoplexy mode until I read it a second time.

      Peace!

      • Kyle Field

        Thank you for the feedback. I was trying to break the technical terms into relevant metrics for users. 🙂

    • Kyle Field

      I know what the rates are but 6.6 kilowatts doesn’t mean anything to someone who hasn’t driven an EV or isn’t an electrical engineer. 6.6 kWh per hour helps build the bridge between battery capacities and charge times. I’m not ignorant by any stretch…just trying to translate and make the terms more approachable and relevant to a broader base of readers.

      • dogphlap dogphlap

        Please don’t do that. Using the wrong units helps nobody.

        • Kyle Field

          It’s not wrong…just a different way of talking about charging rate. Talking about charging rates in miles of range per hour however…yeah, I WOULD argue against that.

          • eveee

            I can go either way. I just want to know why. Say you have some little old lady driver. She comes in and wants to buy a Tesla. She looks and sounds suspiciously like Gracie Allen in Burns and Allen.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlFCKZkeBrg

            You are the Tesla salesman.
            She stares up at you with that curious smile and says how many miles can I charge per hour?
            What do you reply?

          • Zero_X_Rider

            rph = miles of range per hour.
            (quick charger = J-1772,
            fast charger = SAE CCS or CHAdeMO at 50 kW)

            About 20 rph at a quick charger, up to 150 rph at a fast charger, and full (up to 80 percent state of charge) in less than an hour at a Tesla Supercharger on occasion when traveling long distances.

            Hate it or not, she’ll likely immediately understand this and think I gave her a useful, honest answer and will go on to asking how badly it smokes a 1974 Porsche 914 from 0-60 (in fairness, a Prius also wins that one).

          • eveee

            Definitely. I can just picture Gracie Allen saying those exact words.
            Maybe mphc or mphr or rmph or cmph. Trying to find some way to distinguish mph from velocity. R for range or c for charge.

          • Zero_X_Rider

            Lol.

            It’s not my concept. rph (miles of range per hour) is common, shortest and avoids muddling with the well known mph metric. I’m happy to use whatever terms people are eaisly comfortable with and accurate enough to give Gracie Allen the confidence to test drive a plugin.

          • Alexis Boom

            Would you say the car drives at 100mph each hour?

            That would make it 100mph/h meaning at 2hrs it would be doing 200mph, 3hrs 300mph…

            dogphlap is right, keep it simple but not stupid in this case. Or in other words, by keeping to international notational standards we prevent miscommunication.

        • Michael B

          The units aren’t wrong, and I like KF’s “strategy”!

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            kWh/h is somehow correct and easier to understand than kW which is the generally accepted units for power in the EV world. Now if you had suggested we adopt Joules for energy I would accept that (1J = 1Ws). If you think that kWh/h is the way to go for power well nothing I can say will make any difference, we obviously inhabit different worlds. And no I am not advocating the EV community adopt Joules or MJ but at least they are legitimate units, in this case for energy while kW works fine for power, kWh/h is just horrible.

          • TedKidd

            Sure, but miles per gallon sucks too. Good luck getting the public to switch to gallons per mile…

            Isn’t a well understood poor measure better than a not understood good one?

            🙂

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            I absolutely agree. We all know what the EV unit for power is i.e. the kW. We all know what the EV unit for energy is i.e. the kWh. Both the above are well understood. What is being suggested is we abandon the kW for the kWh/h which is a nonsense.

          • TedKidd

            …and doesn’t solve the confusion issue.

            Sigh…

            So why can’t we use miles per hour (using 3kwh as a common average)? That’s how I always talk to people about it, seems easy for uninformed to follow.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            I’m not sure I follow you. If you are suggesting mph for the ability of a particular charger and vehicle combination to gain range as it charges that makes good sense and in fact Tesla people (and I have no doubt other EV owners) refer to than metric frequently. But what do you mean by “using 3kWh as a common average”.

          • TedKidd

            I dont understand your question.

            Most EV’s go about 3 miles per kWh. Some might get 2.5, others 3.5, in the winter less, 70+ mph, less.

            If you can charge at 40 amps, that’s a 10kw charger, delivering just under 30 mph of range at 3 miles per kWh.

            Variation in range between cars is much less than variation of any car caused by temperature, sort of like variation of a TDI from city to highway.

            If someone asks what mileage a tdi gets, 39 could be right on, or off by 25% depending on where you drive. Saying 30-40 mpg is maybe less precise but MUCH more accurate. When talking about this stuff you can’t land in the hole, only on the green.

            So quibbling about fractional differences in EV range isn’t useful for conveying to people not interesting in understanding the thickness of a hair. That being true, what is the way to convey to people how fast these cars can charge?

            I’ve had the best luck getting comprehension by explaining it in mph. KW or volts or amps are returned with blank stares.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            If that works for you well good. For what it’s worth I just checked my trip meter and my last short run was 174Wh/km which is 3.6miles/kWh in a Model S 70D.

            40A will only give you 10kWh charging if you are charging with 250V rms (which does include me or at least close at 240V).

            We each seem to have problems understanding each other so maybe we should call a halt to this back and forth, I’ll stick to kW and kWh while you use whatever works for you when explaining to whoever.

            Best regards.

          • TedKidd

            So how do you explain charging to your mother, or your neighbor?

            Do you tell her:

            “40A will only give you 10kWh charging if you are charging with 250V rms (which does include me or at least close at 240V).”?

            I’d be thrilled to have a more technically accurate way to describe it, so long as it is decipherable for my audience.

            Why are you getting snippy at me? I didn’t make up the idea of using MPH charging:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ba16fa269aaf8b9a790c784b3cca5a00f7e7ec58df9178adcb46d880b2c58c14.jpg

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/50bd9b0dbb0b0935fc5b0270bb58954e19e0a363ba2fe2f5c7ae8cefe726f9d3.jpg

            I just haven’t seen one that works better for conveying the concept to people trying to understand EV’s.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            First off if I come over as being snippy I apologize unreservedly for that. That was not my intention. If your system works for you, good on you.
            My mother is deceased but she understood basic four function arithmetic and had no problem with the concept of velocity which requires an identical technique i.e. velocity of travel is a function of two variables, distance and time. The only awkward point being the use of mph to mean two different things i.e. speed of travel and speed at which range is regained under charging. When I first came across that latter usage I did a double take but context made it clear so no real problem there either.
            I don’t think my neighbours would have a problem either but the only question I get is how long does it take to charge to which I reply 2 to 4 hours over night, depending on how depleted the battery was when I started charging and how far I anticipate travelling the next day. I have the car set to start charging at 01:00am, I’m never awake to witness when the charging stops. If my girl friend springs a sudden change of plans I’ll do a quick sum in my head as to how long any additional charging will take because that’s how I roll but in reality it’s the charging screen in the car that I go by which tells me how long it will take to reach the level of charge I selected at the current I selected (normally 32A but if time is tight 40A).
            If I came across as disparaging, well that’s just my unfortunate manner. Please keep using your educational tool if it works for you and your inquirers, for me it is just an unnecessary complication to what is a simple problem that anyone who has the wit to drive a car ought not to have any difficulty with.

          • TedKidd

            No problem.

            I tend to proselytize about EV’s (and home performance), so I’m always working on clarifying my message. You probably get so many questions about Tesla the conversation doesn’t go to these other cars.

            Not sure if you had a compliance design car before getting a real car, but the charging question and experience tends to be much different for these cars that can’t do 80 miles on a warm day, downhill with a tailwind – like my Smart ED.

            How often do you even get below 60 miles range? That’s like; “oop, on reserve!”

            Try imagining a 60 mile car, now add in a 3.3kw charger. Yeah, 3.3 max. So slow I haven’t bothered running 220 to the garage. I charge on 110.

            I suspect I live in territory you very rarely enter. Can’t wait for 2018!!

          • Zero_X_Rider

            Typical rph (miles of e-range per hour when public charging) is a valid and often asked question by consumers considering plugin vehicles. Most no more want to be e.e.s than oil chemists. Providing rph for an average of the most common plugin vehicle type (a simple range if multi-modal) for an average of the most common charging stations at each charging level helps consumers faster and better than the actual technical specs, by far, in my experience. I learned this repeatedly the hard way. QED.

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            Why I are you telling me this ? I’ve already said that. Let me quote from my earlier comment: “If you are suggesting mph for the ability of a particular charger and vehicle combination to gain range as it charges that makes good sense and in fact Tesla people (and I have no doubt other EV owners) refer to that metric frequently”.

          • Zero_X_Rider

            Because rph (as miles of range per hour) further resolves the confusion you validly identified of using the same term, mph, to mean two different concepts. Sometimes context is missed, so why even cause a double take, which could be glazed over eyes in those less informed and familiar with plugins than you?

          • dogphlap dogphlap

            OK, I seem to have misunderstood what you were saying. I’ve always mixed with people who have some technical proficiency and no problem with simple maths plus my educational background in physics may unfairly colour my views on this, but for me at least I’ll stick to the kW capability of the power source (or charger if that is a limiting factor) and typical Wh/km of the vehicle then do the single step of division to determine range gain per hour. A selection of typical range gain per hour numbers for different classes of vehicle just seems like an unnecessary complication to me and introduces a further source of inaccuracy in an already inaccurate (because of the unquantified affects of temperature, head or tail winds, changes of altitude etc) guestimate. Still if you find it useful to communicate to people not familiar with the concepts of Wh/m and charging power in kW go for it. Not that I need to do any calculations since my car reports charge rate in km/hr (currently 35km/h home charging on 242V at 32A), charge time remaining (currently 25minutes to reach my pre-set charge percentage) and actual range available at that instant (currently 230km). Certainly rph makes more sense than using mph for range gain during charging since it already has a well known use in a related but still totally different application. I have not seen rph before though I guessed what it meant from the context, still where I live the range is normally in km so without the m there would still be room for confusion, probably not a real problem though since in practice location should be sufficient to answer as to whether miles or kilometres were intended. Is the term rph currently in use (in the world of electric motorcycles perhaps ?). I had not heard of it before but that does not mean very much.

          • Zero_X_Rider

            Yep, it’s in common use, regardless of the number of wheels. It’s not my concept. I defined it each time, so no guesswork involved. rph = miles (or km) of range per hour. The average car consumer isn’t asking questions about watts or technical jargon. They want to know how many miles (or km) of range they get from a charger in an hour for a common vehicle at a common charger (quick and fast). Their eyes glaze over immediately with watts. That your car reports km/hr charging rates and that you know what it is at your home charger reinforces the usefulness of rph for the average consumer, who is not a physicist. I suspect that using just rph is indeed sufficient for a national area, with the unit of distance measure appropriate for that country (miles or km) assumed. That’s certainly worked for me. If addressing an international and technical audience, your suggestion of krph and mph for clarity sounds fine to me. I rarely get to address such an enlightened audience. Numbers I gave for a Tesla were in miles. Of course, they would be higher numbers in km for countries that use km.

          • eveee

            Distance in mph/h?

          • eveee

            Tedd. I don’t mean to be rude. But really, this is rare comedy.
            I think you have aptly described our situation.
            To be or not to be ….

          • TedKidd

            So how about just telling laymen charge rate in miles per hour? That’s the only description I’ve had success with. It’s a metric people can relate to, remember, and that they care about.

      • eveee

        But, but, how do you drive an EV without knowing what an Amp is? I think I am convinced against kwhr/hr. Why? If they aren’t an electrical engineer they probably are not going to get it. No sense in changing it so electrical engineers are confused. You might just wind up with confused electrical engineers and confused laymen. Better to just have confused laymen.

        • TedKidd

          You get in it and turn the key?

          Most people drive ICE without understanding btu in gasoline.

          • eveee

            Whats a btu. British Thermal Unit? 🙂 I though we had this metric discussion. LOL.
            Electrical engineers use Joules and KWhr. Really,
            I don’t like Joules, either.
            Get in, push the button. Get out, plug it in at night. Every day.
            If you drive to far and ignore the range, call AAA. Same as with a gas car.

          • TedKidd

            Lol.

            I really like ZeroX proposed rph/miles rph. Confusion leads to uncertainty, and fear. These are enemies of adoption.

            If we can get that little old lady’s ass in the seat, her likelihood of buying goes up geometrically.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Little old ladies and young men get behind the wheels of gasmobiles every day while having no ability to describe what is happening in engineering/scientific terms.

          • eveee

            Yes. Just push the button to drive and plug in the charger when parked makes it much simpler, IMO. Great for anyone that like simplicity. I do. 🙂

          • Bob_Wallace

            You left out a step or two…

            Get in, push the button. Get out, plug it in at night. Every day.

            If you don’t have enough charge to reach the destination you’ve set in the car’s GPS then the car will let you know and where to find a charger.

            If you ignore the notice and drive too far you’ll have to call AAA. Same as with a gas car.

            If you drive too far and ignore the range, call AAA. Same as with a gas car.

          • eveee

            Yes. It was tongue in cheek for the driver that doesn’t pay attention to a range (or fuel) gauge. People run out of gas all the time.
            I do like the computer notices that say get to a charger soon and here is one. It sort of exists with a GPS like Garmin, but not the same as the built in app that checks the remaining distance with fueling sources. EVs have ICE beat that way. Or does it exist on high end ICE like BMW?

      • David Nelson

        As a Physics teacher I’m always trying to educate when appropriate. One of the things I learned very quickly from my master teacher when I was doing my student teaching was to use the proper term followed by the definition or meaning. For example, instead of writing, “These chargers provide charging rates of 6.6 kilowatt-hours for each hour of charging.” I would write/say, “These chargers provide charging rates of 6.6 kilowatts (6.6 kilowatt-hours for each hour of charging).” Obviously what you wrote is technically correct. It doesn’t help that most people don’t talk about their electric bill and the number of kWh they used, they typically say kW. :/

        In any case, it is great that you are keeping your intended audience in mind.

        Thanks,

        David D. Nelson

        • Kyle Field

          Thanks David. I really appreciate that. I’ll look for opportunities to use that framework in the future. I love adding value and educating readers so this is extremely helpful.

  • Jamset

    You forgot to mention that Tesla plugs in USA are different to Europe.

    CHAdeMO I think is the same worldwide.

    But now Europe has banned CHAdeMO!

    USB has done better. USB-C is supported by Apple and Google and Nokia!

    There should be a global 500 kW plug.

  • patb2009

    how about Adapters? I think there is a Chademo to Tesla adapter, why not a CCS to Chademo adapter?

    • milliamp

      I think CCS and Supercharger are AC and CHAdeMO is DC. An adapter for Tesla exists for CHAdeMO exists even though it’s large and expensive ($450) but from what I am reading doing a CHAdeMO adapter for CCS like BMW i3 would be much more difficult.

      Tony Williams of Quick Charge Power is one of the people that mentioned it would be pretty difficult to do and he is probably a fairly credible source on it. I won’t link the URL to avoid the spam filter.

      I linked an image in an earlier post and I’m not sure that it survived moderation.

    • Benjamin Nead

      I’ve been told by the CEO of a company that deploys Level 3 chargers (he also happens to be a Tesla owner) that a CCS-to-Tesla adapter is electronically impossible but, as already noted, a CHAdeMO-to-Tesla one is available.

      • Kyle Field

        Adapters may play a key role in the transition but should be provided at the station vs requiring users to purchase them. They are currently VERY expensive and as you mentioned, there are some cross platform limitations.

        • Multi-connector DCFC are equivalent to providing one connector with station-owned adaptors, right?

          I have read but not confirmed that a CHAdeMO / CCS DCFC is about 5% more expensive to install than a CHAdeMO-only DCFC. That’s the ticket, I think – after all, people who drive smokers are already used to a gas and a diesel hose. The analogy is quite good.

          • Kyle Field

            I would say no. Let’s say that the power adapter from the station has a generic plug on it that doesn’t charge an EV and the station has adapters available to suit all EV charging standards. Then, if the station has 2 power adapters, it can charge 2 cars via CHAdeMO, 2 cars via SAE Combo, 2 cars with Tesla adapters etc. The current setup only allows for 1 SAE Combo car and 1 CHAdeMO car. Granted, 2 is better than 1 but not as good as a fully adaptable solution.

          • cros13

            I’m afraid it’s not “1 Combo car and 1 CHAdeMO car” it’s “1 Combo car OR 1 CHAdeMO car”. With the exception of some testing sites in Germany and Norway a DC rapid can usually only charge one DC car at a time. On a triple standard unit you can charge two cars, one on DC and one on AC. That’s great for a 43kW Renault Zoe but less great for my i3 which can only charge at 7.2kW while waiting on the DC. Worse is the Leaf which can’t charge off the AC at all due to having an american J1772 on european cars instead of a proper Type 2.

    • There is one on Tesla’s site.

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