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EU Power Transportation Hardware Technology

Europe Is Getting a Network of 'Ultra-Fast, High-Powered' EV Chargers (theverge.com) 72

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford, and Volkswagen have entered into a partnership to create a network of high-speed charging stations for electric vehicles across Europe. The new chargers will be capable of doling out up to 350 kW of power -- which would make them almost three times as powerful as Tesla's Supercharging stations. The result will be "the highest-powered charging network in Europe," according to a statement released by the manufacturers. The automakers say that construction will begin in 2017 with "about 400 sites" being targeted, and that the network will have "thousands of high-powered charging points" available by 2020. Those four major conglomerates will be "equal partners" in the joint venture, but according to the statement they are encouraging other manufacturers to "participate in the network." One of the reasons for bothering to call on other automakers to hook into this system is because there's a standards war happening with fast charging networks. The charging network announced today will use the Combined Charging System (CCS) technology, which is what that most major automakers already use for their EVs. But Nissan, Toyota, and Honda are notable holdouts from CCS, because many of their EVs and plug-in hybrids use a competing standard known as CHAdeMO.
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Europe Is Getting a Network of 'Ultra-Fast, High-Powered' EV Chargers

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  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @05:15PM (#53388703)

    Why do tech companies even do this? Why can't everyone just agree on a standard and stick with it from the start instead of having a war that means us consumers who buy gear from the wrong side will suffer. No doubt there will be large dongle adapters between charging standards, but I bet an adapter that can handle 100+ kilowatts is pretty darn expensive.

    I mean, the basic requirements for a plug are that it be mechanically sound and inexpensive to manufacture. It ought to have several conductor pins, filled in by order of amperage, so a 2 pin plug is 50 amp and a 4 pin plug is 100 amp and so on. The plugs for lower amperage would be the same size plastic mold, just missing the conductors for higher amperage. Not that hard to get right. It needs a data pin to do handshaking with the destination.

    It's not worth fighting a war to get royalties, every electric car manufacturer has an incentive to use the standard used by the majority so everyone's vehicles can charge more places.

    • And then there's the Tesla charging standard, too?

      So Tesla Super Chargers and at home chargers, CCS, and CHAdeMO. And I think there's a 4th standard, too...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not all humans agree, hence standards groups. Tesla is already a member of the CCS industry group...this is 'everyone' but a few in the industry falling in line with CCS. The other standards will wither. Probably.

    • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @05:29PM (#53388771) Homepage

      The exact same reason why open source software is never forked, and everyone agrees on one particular standard and implementation.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pj2541 ( 600359 )

      Why do tech companies even do this?

      Tech companies do this because standards organizations move too slow. Manufacturers want to ship something this (week, month, quarter, year...) and the standards people will still be arguing over the name of the new group. I work in 802.11 and we see this happen way too often.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @06:01PM (#53388981)

        Tech companies do this because standards organizations move too slow. Manufacturers want to ship something this (week, month, quarter, year...) and the standards people will still be arguing over the name of the new group. I work in 802.11 and we see this happen way too often.

        The other reason is no one is an expert until it's actually tried. Each "standard" has their own pluses and minuses, each of which wasn't readily apparent when it was created.

        That, and most standards organizations are all about patent swapping - I'll get your patent into the standard, if you'll get my patent in the standard. They're less about pushing technology forward and more about how diplomatic you can be during negotiations.

        Indeed, when a new standard is called for, usually there's a call to industry to propose their ideas and implementations and if there's only one working one out there, it will likely be the standard regardless if there's a better version in R&D right now.

    • by crow ( 16139 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @05:49PM (#53388913) Homepage Journal

      We need new standards when the old standards are insufficient. Tesla developed their own standard because there wasn't anything else fast enough (CHAdeMO is slower). CCS is designed to work as an extension to the standard J1772 level-2 (240V) chargers, and I think it's faster.

      The good news is that it should be possible to create adaptors. Tesla already has CHAdeMO adaptors, and I suspect CSS adaptors will be available soon. I would suspect that CHAdeMO and CSS will have adaptors for each other at some point. For the short term, it means carrying around extra cables, but eventually it will be all sorted out.

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      "Why can't everyone just agree on a standard and stick with it"

      And for the same reason, everyone should use Windows and MP3, MP4 and 720P and 110vAC/12vDC and drive on the right side of the road. Where's the fun in that?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Building a high power charger is not easy. The connector has to be rugged enough to survive day to day use, waterproof, safe in the rain, and deliver tens or hundreds of kilowatts. When you get up to the 100kW range you start to need liquid cooling for the cable.

      The good news is that most of the work is generating the high current DC power needed, so a single charger can easily have both CHAdeMO and CCS connectors available. The ones Nissan paid for in the UK are like that.

      Not including both is just being a

    • Why do tech companies even do this? Why can't everyone just agree on a standard and stick with it from the start instead of having a war that means us consumers who buy gear from the wrong side will suffer.

      There's millions of reasons...

      Waiting for an agreed standard is no good, because that takes forever. And most standards just merge together a few of the most popular proprietary methods and call it a standard, so you can't just start on step 2 in any case.

      Adopting whatever came along first is no good, bec

    • So in your opinion we should all still be using USB 1.0?

      Do you understand that this is nothing more than an extension of an existing standard for charging that currently tops out at 50kW? My connector works fine at 1kW and at 50kW.

      My 50kW capable connector uses 2-pins for DC and the pins are already capable of 200A so you appear to want to replace those 2 pins with 8 pins to get 50kW and for 350kW we need 56 pins? Is that sensible? Nope. And that's why real automotive engineers have designed the CCS in

    • I think that in Europe we have more than 20 different plugs for mains connections. EV Chargers are a good occasion for industry and EU bureaucracy to bring into use a dozen more plug formats, and for sure it will not be missed.
      • I think that in Europe we have more than 20 different plugs for mains connections. EV Chargers are a good occasion for industry and EU bureaucracy to bring into use a dozen more plug formats, and for sure it will not be missed.

        Did you just actually blame the different local power plug standards on EU bureaucracy? You Brexiters have no shame nor brain.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        1. There are 7 different plugs. 6 of them are mostly interchangable (type C plug fits into nearly any european socket, type F and E are pretty much integrated nowdays. The slightly different ones are found in Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, Greenland and Liechtenstein, but you don't really have to worry unless your device needs a grounding pin), with the one used in the UK being the odd one out (but they want out of EU, so soon it'll be a non-issue anyway).
        2. Do you remember how mobile phone charging used to l

    • My god do you have a lot to learn about what goes into plugs.

      I have an idea for a few things you missed out. But I don't want to post them here or we'll end up with 2 different standards again.

      • Wouldn't mind, I'm sure they are way more complex. I was just thinking an all in one plug needs to support earlier cars with slower max charging rates and the cord/plug needs to be cheaper, saving you the weight and expense of several extra kilograms of copper that the high amperage cord would need.

        • Indeed but the cords already come with the cars. There's no reason even with the existing standards that a cord will be larger than what a car would need to charge.

          This isn't a standards war, it's stock standard (pun intended) evolution. The prior standard is based on a design from 1993 with CAN bus signalling. There's 2 major standards at the moment (3 if you count Tesla's). Some of them are largely compatible with the ability to adapt between the DC ones anyway. But none of them have the requirements need

          • ? I'm talking about the connector. The connector needs to support different charging rates by an array of parallel pins so slower cords can just have an empty connector for all but the minimum set of current carrying pins.

            • Right. But the metal inside the connector is an incredibly tiny portion of the cost of the connector, you're not saving much. Actually the opposite. Depending on the connector (if it's moulded around the pins like many such connectors are to improve their sturdiness) it may actually reduce the economies of scale. Also lots of parallel connectors have lower power capacity than single connectors at the correct size. Same reason why you can put 3 identical cables on a small cable tray, but when you put 10 next

              • Yeah that would be easier, wouldn't it. Requiring both high and low current chargers and high and low current cables to populate every conductor means the low current cables would have a long lifespan from having more total conductors than they need. So in your version, you'd make the low current cable have a thinner cable portion while the high current cable would have much thicker copper wires and even tubes for coolant water? (the coolant would be supplied by the charger)

                High current cable might also n

  • Daimler has a long history of corruption, one of their fields of interest is debt in Greece... selling buses,cars,trains,etc to that government either over overpriced or unsuitable. VW, well the diesel scum is one of the many things that they do across europe. I bet the main electronics will come from the other overcorrupted-pay politicians to close deals Siemens, and why wouldn't they involve other corrupted and german industry giants!! Just send us the f'ing bill already, coz EU idiots like myself are goi
    • The bizarre joke here, is that a while back, Greeks were worried that they would be kicked out of the Euro, and the "New Drachma" replacement would be sharply devalued. So Greeks with cash on hand were looking for some tangible assets, that would hold value over time. So the Greeks bought a lot of cars . . . their favorite brands are German:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin... [telegraph.co.uk]

      • First off, you cannot get kicked out of the Eurozone, nor from E.U., different entities; you can leave but not get kicked(or forced by some means). Secondly, Greek put their money into real estate... that's where they invest, houses and farms(and that happened before the governments after 2010 started overtaxing houses ). Whoever writes about Greeks investing in cars, and especially German ones is either an idiot or twice an idiot. German cars were used there as in every other part of the world, "nouveau ri
  • The Trump administration will mandate a return to gas with lead additives.
    • will not matter. Once the M3 hits the market, new ICE vehicle sales will slow way down. That is to be followed by the German car makers switching to EVs only in 2021 ( the gov says 2030 for latest, but wants 5 years from now).
      It does not matter what Trump does. Oil is headed downwards.
    • OK, Trump winning was crazy enough but now you're actually having hallucinations. With all the conspiratorial nutheads around, a publicly announced plan by the federal government to willfully poison the voters would be unlikely to gain traction (unless you're talking about battle tank tread traction in the next civil war).
  • At low voltage (400VAC), that is a nightmare to deal with. I just got yelled at for having an "ugly" transformer 150' from a standard Class 2 charger. With four of these chargers in a single location you would need a substantial utility transformer. Hopefully they will go medium voltage to simplify the deployment...
    • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Tuesday November 29, 2016 @07:00PM (#53389295)

      It looks like the new 350kW stations will be 800 or 1000 volts at 350 amps.
      However, the current CCS cable and connector is only good for 200 amps so something will need to change.
      The utilities are also likely to have something to say about people plugging and unplugging 350 kW loads for short periods of time.
      Current Tesla Superchargers usually have a 500 kW transformer to serve six or eight charging stations (which are paired to share power). This could accommodate one or two (at reduced power) of the new stations.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The utilities are also likely to have something to say about people plugging and unplugging 350 kW loads for short periods of time.

        In that case they have gotten soft over the years.
        There used to be a time when factory workers expected to get home and eat dinner at the same time.
        The near to synchronized oven turnoff was a lot more than a few hundred kW.

        • by mspohr ( 589790 )

          When we lived in Switzerland a few years ago, the power company would cut power to electric stoves, ovens, water heaters, etc. every day between 11am and 1pm. (They had separate circuits) There is a strong "tradition" of eating lunch at home and I guess it was just too much for the grid.
          Also, in the old days in the US, wouldn't the factory workers turn off their machines before going home to turn on their stoves and TVs?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I don't suppose many vehicles will be able to sustain 350kW charging for long though. Maybe a few minutes to get a big boost in range, but then thermal issues and a desire not to kill the batteries will kick in.

        350kW charging is over 1200 MPH at a mod 3.5m/kWh, so it's not like you need it for very long.

      • The utilities are also likely to have something to say about people plugging and unplugging 350 kW loads for short periods of time.

        Doubt it. Though they do complain when you do it with 6MW loads.

        • by mspohr ( 589790 )

          Lived in Geneva near the Large Hadron Collider. Now that's a large load on the grid but didn't seem to have a problem (although they did call to warn the power companies that they were going to turn it on).

          • Indeed. My 6MW figure has some experience behind it :) No one seems to care when we hit the start button on 2x 2.5MW blowers at the same time, but start the 6MW compressor and we gave the utility a courtesy call. That said that was all. We called them and then hit the start button. It's not like they were given enough warning to do anything.

  • The charging network announced today will use the Combined Charging System (CCS) technology, which is what that most major automakers already use for their EVs. But Nissan, Toyota, and Honda are notable holdouts from CCS, because many of their EVs and plug-in hybrids use a competing standard known as CHAdeMO.

    If there are different proprietary standards, can't EV users just use dongles like Apple users do?

    • by AaronW ( 33736 )

      Dongles tend to be a lot heavier and difficult to manage when dealing with that amount of power. There is an adapter for Tesla to use ChaDeMo and it's fairly large, in part due to the huge size of the ChaDeMo connector compared to the Tesla connector. There is also the problem where this charging standard uses a much higher voltage than CCS, ChaDeMo or Tesla standards which all use a similar voltage range.

  • I really can't see EVs catching on. Early car pioneers carried cans of spare fuel but you can't do that with a pure EV. And 30 mins to charge? And how long is the queue for the charge point even if you manage to find one? I've read reports of UK public chargers being unreliable.

    EVs are probably a good thing but range anxiety will take a lot of overcoming.

    • I really can't see EVs catching on. Early car pioneers carried cans of spare fuel but you can't do that with a pure EV. And 30 mins to charge? And how long is the queue for the charge point even if you manage to find one?

      These new chargers have more than twice the capacity of a Tesla supercharger. Battery charge rates are improving. A vehicle with a 200 mile range which can recharge to 80% in 10 minutes is even more viable than a vehicle with a 300 mile range which can do it in 30, and that's coming but it's a few years off, yet these chargers will already accommodate that.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I really can't see EVs catching on. Early car pioneers carried cans of spare fuel but you can't do that with a pure EV. And 30 mins to charge? And how long is the queue for the charge point even if you manage to find one? I've read reports of UK public chargers being unreliable.

      EVs are probably a good thing but range anxiety will take a lot of overcoming.

      Tesla owners seem pretty happy going cross country. 20 minutes to 80% isn't that bad when you realize two things - a rest stop takes around 20 minutes anyw

    • Depends what you use your car for and how many cars you have.
      e.g. we are lucky enough in our house to be able to run a Diesel and an Electric. Sure the Electric has a worst case (cold weather) range of 100 miles, but that's enough for either my wife or I to commute and if one of us has a longer journey to do we can take the Diesel (or motorbike). It's re-charged overnight on the driveway and I cannot describe how convenient it is to never have to use a fuel station for those house's main vehicle..
      Sure Elect

      • by LQ ( 188043 )

        But I say all this in the knowledge that there are lots of people I know without a driveway so can't charge at home, or who live more than 50 miles from work, or can't afford 2 (new) cars, or can't park 2 cars or ...

        Certainly in my inner city area about 1/3 of households have a car but I'd guess the vast majority of those are parked far from their domestic supply.

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