BMW & GM announce “unprecedented cooperation” on DC fast charging for electric vehicles

Engineers from BMW AG and General Motors recently passed a milestone in the adoption of the new Society of Automotive Engineers industry standard for DC Fast Charging.  Teams from both companies worked jointly to ensure the conformity of DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations developed by various suppliers to the SAE standard by charging pre-production versions of the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Spark EV.

This industry-coordinated early confirmation of DC Fast Charge hardware and software will accelerate efforts to roll out SAE Combo DC Fast Charge infrastructure in the coming months.  Among the suppliers who participated in the testing were ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton and IES.

“Our goal with this cooperation was to ensure that DC fast charging stations be available to provide BMW i customers the premium fast charging experience in time for the arrival of the BMW i3s,” commented Cliff Fietzek Manager connected e-Mobility at BMW of North America, LLC. “We are pleased that we will meet our goal.”

“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, Director, Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy at General Motors.

Just as the majority of the world’s major automakers adopted the SAE’s 120V/240V AC connector standard to assure plug-in vehicles could access all charging infrastructure regardless of vehicle make or model, auto manufacturers (including BMW, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) have committed to adopting the SAE combo fast charge connector, which assures standardization of the DC Fast Charge connectors.

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 to use for consumers who may not otherwise have convenient access overnight to charging at home.  Using DC Fast Charging, EV owners could 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,” noted 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 first vehicles to offer the new SAE Combo DC Fast Charge connector will be the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Spark EV.  The DC Fast Charge option is expected to be available when the BMW i3 launches in the US.

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