BMW And GM Engineers Complete DC Fast Charge Testing

Following several days of joint testing, General Motors and BMW AG engineers declared being confident that DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations from several suppliers will consistently allow an electric vehicle to take on an 80-percent charge in about 20 minutes.

The first electric vehicles expected to benefit from the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) new industry standard for DC fast charging are the Chevrolet Spark EV and the BMW i3.

DCFastCharge01.jpgThis industry-coordinated early confirmation of DC Fast Charge hardware and software was done in order to accelerate efforts to roll out SAE Combo DC Fast Charge infrastructure in the coming months.

Among the suppliers participating in the testing were ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton and IES.

“This unprecedented cooperation among OEMs and equipment suppliers demonstrates the maturity of this important technology that will help speed the adoption of electric vehicles around the world,” said Britta Gross, GM director, advanced vehicle commercialization policy.

Just as most major automakers adopted the SAE’s 120V/240V AC connector standard to assure plug-in vehicles could access all charging infrastructure, eight automakers – GM   Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche – have committed to adopting the SAE combo fast charge connector, assuring standardization of the DC Fast Charge connectors.

“Our goal with this cooperation was to ensure that DC fast charging stations be available to provide BMW i3 customers the premium fast charging experience in time for the arrival of the BMW i3,” said Cliff Fietzek, manager connected e-Mobility at BMW of North America LLC. “We are pleased that we will meet our goal.”

The companies involved said that this new combined AC and DC charging, or combo, connector provides added ease of use for DC Fast Charging, including a single charge port on the vehicle, and allows electricity to flow at a faster rate, making EVs more convenient and reliable to use for consumers who may not  have  access to overnight charging at home.

DC Fast Charging allows EV owners to recharge their batteries up to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes.

“This successful testing is an important milestone that underscores our commitment to enable the next generation of electric vehicles,” said Cal Lankton, director of ABB’s EV Charging Infrastructure for North America. “By offering a broad charging portfolio, we can fully support the needs of all EV drivers and infrastructure providers.”

The DC Fast Charge option is expected to be available a few months after the Spark EV launches in California and Oregon this summer.