Seven vehicle manufactures Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen have collaborated to develop a Combined Charging System. This universal charging system needs only a single charging interface at the vehicle allowing the customer to charge with all existing charging methods: one-phase AC-charging, fast three-phase AC-charging, DC-charging at home or ultra-fast DC-charging at public charging stations.
A uniform vehicle interface reduces the complexity for development and deployment of electric vehicles. Multiple connectors in the infrastructure and different charging inlets at the vehicle are not needed for AC-charging on the one hand and DC-charging on the other hand. This unification goes beyond the connector: The Combined Charging System integrates also the charging communication and the electric and safety architecture. This will lead to cost reduction and facilitates the spread of electro-mobility at world level.
Ford also reports that the seven auto manufacturers have also agreed to use HomePlug Green Phy as the communication protocol. This approach will also facilitate integration of the electric vehicle into future smart grid applications.
The concept of the Combined Charging System was submitted in close cooperation with the above mentioned American vehicle manufacturers to the International Standardization in January 2011. The German manufacturers will also present the Combined Charging System at the 15th International VDI-Congress and Exhibition “Electronic Systems for Motor Vehicles” from 2011-10-12/13 for the first time. The presentation at Baden-Baden will show the installation of the Combined Charging System in vehicles of manufactures being part of this initiative. This marks another development milestone. The Combined Charging System will be ready for deployment mid 2012 and then introduced into the market.
We do wonder about the outcome of such a system taking into consideration the fact that it’s being called different names by different manufacturers, like ‘Initiative Charging Interface’,'Combined Charging System’, and ‘Harmonized Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Solution’. Ford, in its press release has suggested agreeing upon a single, harmonized DC fast charging system, whereas the Germans seem to want it to be versatile enough to charge with all existing charging methods: one-phase AC-charging, fast three-phase AC-charging, DC-charging at home or ultra-fast DC-charging at public charging stations. It is this correspondent’s humble opinion that EVs are but a stop gap measure before we again go digging for alternative methods of propulsion, and it does make us wonder why all the fuss.