Tesla joins Charging Interface Initiative – what does it mean?

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla has joined the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN), an organization formed a few months ago by several automakers and EVSE manufacturers with the mission of promoting technical standards for the Combined Charging System (CCS), and working to increase its capabilities.

Observers of the charging scene differ as to the significance of the move. In the past, Tesla has had little good to say about the CCS standard. “It looks like it was designed by committee, and things designed by committee are not really great,” said Elon Musk in 2011. Tesla created a proprietary standard for its Superchargers, and has never expressed any interest in abandoning that in favor of CCS.

CharIN’s immediate goal is to increase the CCS charging level from 50 kW to 150. Some Tesla Superchargers already support up to 135 kW (some CharIN members have hinted that, in the longer term, power levels could be increased to as much as 350 kW).

SEE ALSO: Tesla’s liquid-cooled Supercharger cable could enable faster charge times

On the other hand, Tesla has long said that it’s open to collaborating with other automakers on fast charging. It may see its membership in CharIN as a way to help improve charging technology for the good of all.

David Herron, writer of The Long Tailpipe, thinks something more momentous is going on. He writes that Tesla “has picked a side in the fast charging debate,” and speculates that the company might redesign its Supercharger stations to use CCS. This would present several technical difficulties, such as finding a way to authenticate users, but it would make Tesla the world’s largest provider of open-standard DC Fast Charging.

It would also probably mean the demise of the competing CHAdeMO standard, which Herron, for one, doesn’t see as a bad thing. “Electric vehicle consumers need there to be a single fast charging protocol,” he writes.


Source: CharINThe Long Tailpipe

  • Joel Sapp

    If Tesla is going to have 400K Model 3 owners in 2 years along with an additional 200K ModelX and ModelS users, they may be getting nervous about having enough stations out there. Additionally, if the systems are compatible, they may not have to build out more superchargers

    • jelloslug

      At the very least, I think Tesla will have some sort of CCS adapter (like the CHAdeMO to Tesla adapter) to let their cars charge at any available station. I also think it would be technically possible to make the opposite type of adapter that could authenticate at a Supercharger and be sold at a premium to cover the costs of the Supercharger network.

      • Joel Sapp

        I agree but I think they could have done that without joining CharIN. They may want to try to get some sort of authentication/payment scheme integrated into the protocol. Additionally, they may want to push 300+Kw class charging. If you can charge faster, you’ll want more power.

        • jelloslug

          I do think that Tesla could do it better on their own, but multiple standards does not help the “EV cause” that Musk is pushing. In the end, charging needs to be as simple as possible for the public to accept it.

          • Joel Sapp

            If you can get more fast chargers out there – especially >135KV units, you help the cause. Tesla could go it alone no doubt, but they need to be leaders in this space to initiate the advent of sustainable transportation.

        • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

          Tesla doesn’t need any association to “help” them with figuring out a payment scheme.

          They will charge money for CCS the by regulation MUST be installed with non-CCS stations (like Supercharger, CHAdeMO, Chameleon, or even GB/T). Those rules currently apply to Germany…. not surpsing, that’s where the CCS promotional organization is located, and where the auto makers who support the German standard are located.

          Protectionist laws are not earth shattering news.

          One additional provision to the German law is that any fees associated with the CCS stations can’t be exorbindent.

          • Joel Sapp

            I think if Tesla finds the standard compatible with fast charging, they could build CCS chargers as part of their SuperCharger Network. They could still offer free charging to Tesla owners by this payment/authorization scheme. If a consortium of car companies buys and maintains CCS chargers offering a free mechanism for their owners, they still would need this payment scheme as well.

            I see the scheme as a mechanism to communication with the car and get a VIN and some other authenticating information. Germany aside, it seems reasonable to me.

          • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

            Why would Tesla “want” to build CCS chargers? You seem to recognize that they are REQUIRED to in Germany, but there is no reason to spend any time or resources elsewhere on CCS.

          • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

            CCS isn’t compatible with any other world standard.

            DC fast charging system standards IEC 61851-23 gives the worldwide requirements for “DC chargers” and provides the general requirements for the control communication between a DC fast charger and an EV.

            IEC 62851-24 defines digital communication between a DC fast charger and an EV.

            Worldwide IEC “Quick Charging” standards:

            1) CAN bus controlled – CHAdeMO (IEC System A) – same plug worldwide, official standard in Japan and European Union

            2) CAN bus controlled – GB/T (IEC System B) – China only

            3) PLC control – CCS COMBO1 (IEC System C) – approved by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), U.S. and Canada only

            4) PLC control – CCS COMBO2 (IEC System C) – Europe only

            5) CAN bus controlled – Supercharger (Tesla only, not recognized by IEC, uses different plug in Europe than the plug used in North America and Japan)

            Neither GB/T nor CCS-Combo 1 & 2 are offered outside of their home markets of China, U.S. / Canada and Europe respectively.

            Chameleon is high speed AC only at 22kW and 43kW,, primarily in France, but throughout western Europe, anywhere a public 3 phase AC outlet is available (the operator must use their own charge cord).

  • Brock Nanson

    I see this as being Tesla’s way to add their influence to the newer standards. They didn’t like CCS at the start and I doubt that they’ve softened their stance any since. If they’re part of the group, they can possibly use their weight in the industry to guide the standard into something that is more workable for all. It falls into the category of “if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”… 😉

  • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

    Sorry, but this is a big yawn for me. Tesla joined the CHAdeMO Association years ago… they didn’t “switch” to CHAdeMO, and they aren’t going to switch to CCS.

    What Tesla will do?

    1) Put CCS plugs on Superchargers in Germany (in addition to the Tesla plugs) and in any countries with protectionist laws in favor of their homegrown standard, CCS… Germany)

    2) Probably make a CCS adaptor, much like the CHAdeMO adaptor

    • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

      What will happen in North America is that CHAdeMO, CCS and Supercharger will coexist for a long time, until some meaningful advancement favors one over another. Supercharger appears to be the heir apparent right now, for intelligent, very fast charging.

      • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

        Since this has come up in the last several weeks, with the numerous articles / attacks on CHAdeMO, Our company won’t be converting JdeMO to CCS. If any standard becomes:

        1) worldwide like CHAdeMO

        2) outnumbers all the others like CHAdeMO

        3) has the support of the largest selling EV in history like CHAdeMO

        Then, sure, we will look at whatever that standard is.

        • Joel Sapp

          “Our company” ? Which company is this?

          • Michael B

            Quick Charge Power (.com), I believe.

    • Joel Sapp

      Good point here. Maybe Tesla is just getting involved. I thought this was the first. Maybe you need to be a member to use the standard ? IDK.

  • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

    The charging levels that are proposed by CCS proponents are:

    300 amps * 500 volts = 150kW

    The only problem with advertising 500 volts is that no current EV has 500 volt batteries… they are all 350-400 volts (ok, the Tesla Roadster was 416 volts max). So, the practical maximum charge speed will be:

    300a * 400v = 120kW

    Guess what Tesla has today?

    370a * 325v = 120kW, and that’s with batteries that can take 350 volts

    330a * 360v = 120kW, and that’s with batteries that can take 400 volts

    Using CCS fuzzy math, a Tesla Supercharger is capable of 370a * 500v = 185kW

    • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

      I will add that the CHAdeMO Association will propose 300 amps, also.

  • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

    The 300-350kW stuff is a real pipe dream, probably only offered with one flagship car from each premium German manufacturer, with the battery at 800 volts, at up to 400 amps.

    While it gets lots of press, the practicality is very low. No current 24kWh to 90kWh can accept 800 volts, but Tesla can likely handle 400 amps easily.

    Will Tesla car batteries go to 800 volts? Who knows… probably. They could take an existing 400 volt pack, and make a “charging” configuration at 800 volts.

  • http://davidherron.com/ David Herron

    I appreciate that Charged EV’s referenced my post … we should take what I wrote the other day as wild speculation on my part.

    The theorizing I had in mind started with the fact that the CharIN mission is to promote CCS, and to move it to 150 kW … this charging level is required for proper road trips, as Tesla’s Supercharger network has demonstrated.

    The question I had in mind was how deep is Tesla’s commitment to CCS. They joined as a “core” member, so does that mean Tesla is all-in on CCS or what

    IF Tesla were to go all-in they would be able to switch charging cords at the Supercharger stations and gain the largest CCS network in the world. Which is an interesting prospect to noodle around in ones mind.

    On the flipside Tesla would have to redesign their car exteriors to accommodate a larger charging port. That’s an unlikely result.

    • TonyWilliamsSanDiego

      You just explained why:

      1) Tesla won’t adopt CCS on their vehicles unless required to by local rules or regulations. It’s important to note that to my knowledge no country currently requires that… not even China or Japan (Tesla Model S is sold in Japan with a Tesla North America Supercharger inlet).

      2) The Tesla consumer would want nothing to do with CCS… why would any person want to have a bigger clunkier plug to charge their car ?

      Certainly, having access to both CHAdeMO and CCS, as well as GB/T, or any others that come along can be accomplished with the simple adapter, as Tesla already does with CHAdeMO.

  • jamcl3

    I suspect Tesla is interested in CCS only to meet upcoming European regulations.

    The higher power levels will be with 800 volt batteries, some of the high-end German OEMs have disclosed these plans publicly.