GM, BMW Tag-Team In Test of EV Quick-Charger Standards

Sections: Installations, Powertrain

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Strange bedfellows in the effort to overcome the chicken-and-egg scenario EVs face: BMW and GM tag-teamed recently to test several OEMs’ combo chargers in preparing to push for the chargers’ implementation.

Combo chargers are a big deal to EV manufacturers because they enable EVs to reach up to 80% charge in as little as 20 minutes. According to the GM release, the first vehicles that will take advantage of the fast combo chargers’ capabilities will be the Chevrolet Spark EV and the BMW i3.

The release said that after “several days” of testing DC combo chargers from several manufacturers, both GM and BMW were “confident [the chargers] from several suppliers will consistently allow an electric vehicle to take on an 80% charge in about 20 minutes.” The release said suppliers including ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton, and IES took part in the testing.

GM Director of Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy Britta Gross said, “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.”

BMW North America Manager of Connected E-Mobility Cliff Fietzek said, “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. We are pleased that we will meet
our goal.”

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

DC combo chargers do away with one important stumbling block for many potential EV buyers: the need to charge for several hours to get a majority of the car’s battery range refilled. Perhaps this is the technology that in coming years could help a charging kiosk manufacturer achieve a Redbox-like breakthrough agreement with major national retailers and restaurants to install the chargers at businesses with a sufficient density that no EV owner would have to worry about range during an average commuting day.

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