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Auto Makers Announce Electric Car Charging Standard 373

Posted by timothy
from the this-could-change-my-mind-when-widespread dept.
Overly Critical Guy writes "Auto makers are launching a universal EV charger that charges an electric vehicle in 15 to 20 minutes. The standard, called Combined Charging System, has been approved by the Society of Automotive Engineers and ACEA, the European association of vehicle manufacturers, as the standard for fast-charging electric vehicles."
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Auto Makers Announce Electric Car Charging Standard

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  • Define "charges" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:52PM (#39897685) Homepage

    I could claim that my phone "charges" in 30 seconds, and I'd be correct. Of course, it only charges ~1% in 30 seconds, so that's not very useful.

    When they say this charger will charge your car in 15 minutes, I'm assuming they don't mean a full charge. But what DO they mean?

  • by dopaz (148229) on Friday May 04, 2012 @07:54PM (#39897695) Homepage

    Standardization sounds like a good plan, so we can focus on one format of charging infrastructure.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Friday May 04, 2012 @08:15PM (#39897829)

    Valid question. But for something like the Volt, they only operate the battery from ~30% capacity to 80% capacity, which means you can fast charge a "full charge". Most batteries don't have to slow the charging until somewhere over 90% capacity.

    Better question is how many KWh can it deliver in 15 mins? Since vehicle battery capacities vary significantly, that's the relevant question.

  • Whither Tesla? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johndoe42 (179131) on Friday May 04, 2012 @08:17PM (#39897841)
    This is endorsed by Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, GM, Porsche and Volkswagen. Tesla is conspicuously missing. The Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Model S are the only electric cars in or near production that are close to road-trip worthy, so the omission is unfortunate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @08:19PM (#39897853)

    1. Different vehicles with the same battery profile. Or have standards. Small medium large.
    2. If you get to a gas station and they are out you are screwed.
    3. It isnt that hard, there are already prototypes. We refill flying planes with other flying planes and you think this is 'far from simple?
    4. Then dont include the battery with the car. 20k or whatever for the car and some 'battery insurance' in case you rally your car and the battery falls out. At that point you don't care what condition the battery is in, it isn't yours.

    etc etc etc please do go on, the one and only problem is getting an entire nation to roll out stations which is expensive with a slow return on investment and getting auto manufacturers to standardize batteries.

  • Re:Whither Tesla? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday May 04, 2012 @08:20PM (#39897859) Homepage
    I'd be much more worried about the fact that neither Honda nor Toyota are there. In fact, neither is Nissan or Kia. I'd imagine that no Asian car makers being involved could be a big problem.
  • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:12PM (#39898143) Homepage

    All true, aside from the "irrelevant" part: power capacity is very nearly the only relevant factor in an electric-vehicle charging system, aside from the obvious safety considerations. Electric vehicles do indeed require somewhat less energy to travel a given distance. However, all those factors combined only make an ideal (100% efficient) electric vehicle about 3-5 times more energy-efficient (gasoline being somewhere between 20% and 30%), whereas the 8MW delivered by a gas pump is 200 times the GP's estimated 40 kW charging rate. Whether the target is 8MW or 1MW, we're still a long way from matching the recharge rate possible with chemical energy.

  • by icebike (68054) * on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:14PM (#39898153)

    But it does allow people to start planning service stations with some confidence that they will be able to service the bulk of the fleet, instead of needing charge stations for each car.

    The 15 to 20 minutes is a reasonable amount of time as well. By the time you refill your coffee, pump the bilge, buy the snack, your car would be ready.

    This also allows restaurants and coffee shops on major highways to start installing charge stations in their lots. They sell you the juice while you are having your lunch. We could see gas stations disappear in our life time. (Well, maybe in your life time).

    Standardization of basic infrastructure like this is a key hurdle for EVs to gain market share. But the typical (and optimistic) 100 mile range of a Battery Electric Vehicle is still a killer for anything but around town driving.

  • by robot256 (1635039) on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:18PM (#39898195)

    3. It isnt that hard, there are already prototypes. We refill flying planes with other flying planes and you think this is 'far from simple?

    Aerial refueling is far from simple, but it is performed by highly trained operators in billion dollar equipment. And you use that to justify why installing 100,000 battery changers, performing hundreds of millions of changes a year, operated by idiot consumers with cheap vehicles is somehow easy? You might as well say "We put a man on the moon, why don't we all travel in miniature scramjet pods?"

    etc etc etc please do go on, the one and only problem is getting an entire nation to roll out stations which is expensive with a slow return on investment and getting auto manufacturers to standardize batteries.

    So the only problems are that the infrastructure is too expensive to be profitable and the vehicles are too expensive to be profitable. Sure, that sounds totally viable in a free-market economy. /sarcasm.

    Why are people so obsessed with having gas stations for electric cars? That defeats the whole purpose. Charge the car at home and at work, like your smartphone. No trips out of your way, no cruising for the cheapest price, no waiting by the pump, just a few seconds before and after to plug/unplug. If you need to go long distance, take a train/plane/bus, enjoy the view and relax for once in your life. And if your commute is too long, then you're not in the target demographic anyways.

    For the cost of installing battery-swap infrastructure in a handful of locations, we could cover a city with standard charging stations. Then you could charge no matter where you park. Even installing networks of the fast-chargers on major corridors will end up being cheaper and more versatile.

    Besides, you've seen how long it took them to agree on a standard for a charging plug. Just think how long it would take them to agree on standards for whole battery packs. By the time they finish, we'll have 400-mile Litihium-Air batteries and hydrogen fuel cell backups, and no one will care anymore.

  • by n8r0n (1447647) on Friday May 04, 2012 @09:52PM (#39898381) Homepage

    I own a LEAF, and I've heard no such recommendation. They recommend against multiple quick charges per day, but I haven't seen anything about twice a month. You don't want to put the battery through a quick charge when the batteries are real hot, but a battery pack is not going to hold heat for multiple days. Sorry, the thermal mass isn't that high.

    Now, they do tell you that the less you quick charge, the longer your battery will last. They say that regular quick charging will leave you with 70% capacity after 8 or 10 years (I can't remember the quoted "lifetime"), and 80% capacity at "end of life" if you don't quick charge, but just use 110V trickle charging and 220V normal charging.

    That's not exactly frying your batteries early.

    Don't hold your breath on your non-RTFM scenario, dude. First of all, EV owners know the dominant strategy for charging is always going to be charging at home. Very few people are going to be doing a lot of quick charging (maybe cab drivers?). Quick charging is likely to be significantly more expensive per kWh than charging at home, and people just don't buy LEAFs if they do a lot of long-distance (100 miles+) driving. If they did, they'd but a Volt.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 04, 2012 @10:22PM (#39898585)

    By the time you refill your coffee, pump the bilge, buy the snack, your car would be ready.

    *And* wait in line for the one or two EVs in front of you to finish.

    You're thinking like someone who can't break out of the "gas station" mentality - there's no reason for the cars to line up to get electricity from a small number of pumps that deliver liquid in the same way that gasoline or diesel is delivered. You can simply have a row of parking spaces with a connector in each one, or you put them in parking lots at the grocery store so that you recharge while you shop, or at the movie theatre, or at work etc.

    A traditional gas station can simply have a set of parking spaces off to the side with a connector for each one. Positioning of charge sockets is much more flexible since it's just running a copper cable, not pipes full of liquid with the necessary pumps and so on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @11:04PM (#39898779)

    Electric vehicles use zero power while stopped, and damned little while moving slowly in stop-and-go with regenerative braking. It's maintaining the highway speeds that kills the battery faster. This isn't like an internal combustion engine, which makes peak efficiency at more-or-less highway speeds and wastes power idling in traffic.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 04, 2012 @11:18PM (#39898859)

    I don't see it as any more dangerous than large tanks of gasoline, or above-ground propane tanks and transformers and so on.

    We already have three phase outlets that can deliver that sort of punch and I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that circuit breakers and other such safety systems will be a major part of any EV charging system - like they are for any high voltage/high power electrical system in use today.

  • by Jeremi (14640) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @02:57AM (#39899711) Homepage

    That also guarantees you won't install this in your house as you have a maximum of 240v at 100-200amps available (200 only in the newest houses)

    On the other hand, people typically want to stay home for more than 15 minutes at a stretch anyway, so slower charging times probably aren't such a big deal there.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @04:51AM (#39900175)

    So, your commute was about a mile and a half each way? Would you even bother driving that kind of distance?

    In parts of the world there is no alternative. I remember seeing a nice restaurant across a highway from a hotel in Texas once, and after wandering around for a bit I realised the only way to get to t was to get in the car, drive half a mile to an exit with a loop under, then drive back again.

  • by Spugglefink (1041680) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:13AM (#39900607)

    So, your commute was about a mile and a half each way? Would you even bother driving that kind of distance?

    I used to commute half that distance.

    Sure, it's only three quarters of a mile, why not break the American mold, get some exercise, and save money in the process? Because I always sucked at playing Frogger, that's why. There are no sidewalks, there are no crosswalks, and there is no respect for pedestrians between here and there. It's good exercise running like hell trying to avoid getting hit by cars going 20 mph over the speed limit, true enough, but running for your life tends to make you show up for work looking sweaty and haggard.

    This phenomenon is one of the bigger things that I really wish America, or at least my corner of it, would fix. I actually like to walk, and I'd be happy to walk that distance and more every day if it weren't such a fundamentally suicidal undertaking.

    I guess it's all moot now anyway. I lost that job, and now I have to drive 115 miles round trip.

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