Why did Kia decide to use CHAdeMO DC Fast Charging on the new Kia Soul EV?

DC Fast Charging is increasingly seen as a “must have” feature for an EV. Japanese automakers are committed to the CHAdeMO standard, while their US and European colleagues are equally locked into the competing CCS standard. However, as a Korean company, Kia was free to choose whichever system it thought best for its new Soul EV.

“We looked at both standards – it was about three years ago when we needed to make that decision,” EV Product Manager Steve Kosowski told Charged. “At the time, there was some genuine interest in CCS. Then we looked at the volume of CHAdeMO chargers in the US, and we thought the prudent thing to do was to fit the car with the CHAdeMO port, and it seems to be the right decision.”

Kia Soul EV

EVSE makers are poised to profit no matter which standard eventually wins out – many are manufacturing dual-standard chargers. “I think there’s a growing proliferation of CCS devices, but a lot of new chargers are fitted with both nozzles,” said Kosowski. “It’s kind of like a gas pump, where you you’ve got a diesel nozzle and a gasoline nozzle.”

Kia decided to install a dual-standard DC Fast Charger at each of its dealership locations, and it chose the ABB Terra 53 CJ. “We wanted to make a long-term investment, so if you’ve got a $30,000 charger and you’ve got the choice to offer both ports, it’s prudent to do so,” said Kosowski. “The dealer can charge a Soul EV, a LEAF or an i-MiEV. But, if somebody wheels up in an i3, a Chevy Spark or an e-Golf, you’ve got the option to charge them…and it’s an opportunity for the dealer to give them a Soul EV to test-drive.”

 

Source: Kia

  • Zephyr

    The dual-standard EVSE is the big story. As long as they keep rolling those out, the industry’s failure to standardize on one DCFC connector won’t hurt it much.

  • cw

    as an EV driver myself, I find it mind-boggling that there is not just one standard for fast-charging…..

    • Paul Zigouras

      You are correct… there WAS only one charging standard for quite some time. CHAdeMO has been around for 6+ years… even the original Nissan Leafs used it way back in 2010. It wasn’t until last year that SAE decided to release the SAE Combo standard. The theory behind it was that you could have one charging port on your car instead of two (this would, in turn, cut the cost of manufacturing the car). In reality, it makes very little difference in the production cost of the car… probably around $40 or so.

      • cw

        good point. So 40 bucks translates into about 100 buck on the sticker price of the car…. so instead they raise the cost of fast-chargers installed by what? $1000? To have TWO different cords and confuse new consumers who might be thinking of going to an EV? It makes people think that maybe the EV cars don’t “have it together yet” when they can’t get things standardized….

        • GCO

          The most affordable CHAdeMO quick-charger is 16k$.
          (disregarding lower-power, indoor-only and/or DIY options).

          I’m not aware of a dual-standard unit available below 30k$.

          • cw

            well, even more money than I thought wasted having to have 2 kinds of plugs on the quick chargers…. plus, it seems to make them less-reliable having 2 cords, I have had the experience of “the switch being out” on a fast-charger and the SAE combo does not work, whereas the chadmeo does….

    • DaveinOlyWA

      name a technology that started as one platform and stayed that way?

      • cw

        So we consumers should just expect things to be done this way for the rest of time? I guess I expected better for EV cars and it being after 2010.

        • DaveinOlyWA

          simple question is all I asked. not implying we are doing it right. In fact, there is very little right in the public charging arena so far. OR has done very well (after you get out of town. Portland is no better than nearly any other city) getting access to EVers for nearly every part of the state. Other than that; the whole public charging rollout has pretty much been a fiasco.

          • cw

            agreed.

  • Turbofroggy

    The dealer can charge a Soul EV, a LEAF or an i-MiEV. But, if somebody wheels up in an i3, a Chevy Spark or an e-Golf, you’ve got the option to charge them…and it’s an opportunity for the dealer to give them a Soul EV to test-drive.” this part is brilliant. This Steve Kosowki gets it. That DCFC at the dealerships is a beacon that show up in plugshare and NAVs of all EVs within the radius of the dealerships. Welcoming all makes and models in for a charge and then offering a loan/test drive of a KIA Soul EV is just genious marketing. There are some dealers who treat their charging with a “use my customers only and only our make of cars” and refuse other people to charge there. Pissing off the public by having a stupid charging policy like that is just small minded thinking. Even worse some of these dealerships get there charging stations paid for by the manufacturer for customer use, to promote the brand. They then turn around a intentionally block them or just don’t care if they are blocked or unusable to them or any potential customers.

  • Greener

    “Divide and Rule” policy by US and EU automakers who mostly anti-EV. A deliberate attempt to stop CHAdeMO from becoming a success. Some of these anti-EV automakers have thrown in a bone with plug-in-hybrids or very small battery pack EVs as compliance vehicles.

  • Ramon A. Cardona

    Since fast charging is the future, I do not object to the two, with Tesla, three “standards” that now exist. CCS does allow for one port vs. two. Tesla can use whatever due to smart engineering. The discussion seems academic. I do admit that the CHAdeMO hose and connector cane difficult to handle. But, no worries. ICE cars have choices as well as to types of fuel while diesel is limited to diesel. Yet, the vehicles all move. The J-1772 with 120 or 240 volts seems to handle most of the car charging duties today.