Munich. If electric vehicles are to achieve a breakthrough on the market, their battery charging process must be fast and simpler than refuelling conventional petrol-driven vehicles. To promote this aim, leading OEMs and suppliers have joined forces with TÜV SÜD in Berlin to form the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIN), with the purpose of promoting and advancing the Combined Charging System (CCS) at global level.
“A standardised charging system is vital if electromobility is to succeed. The CCS (Combined Charging System) features a ‘combo connector’ that combines charging points for alternating current (AC) and the faster direct current (DC) in a single unit. Our aim with CharIN is to promote this option, which is called for by the EU”, says Volker Blandow, Global Head of E-Mobility at TÜV SÜD. As an additional advantage, Europe and the USA are acting in concert on this issue; the US standardisation institution SAE and the European
Commission have agreed over this common standard for electric vehicle charging.
“A joint system will represent enormous savings for automotive manufacturers”, stresses Blandow. “Each additional charging system that manufacturers are required to provide as an option involves high costs for development, obtaining approval and, ultimately, also for maintenance. The more standardisation is introduced in global charging systems, the more universal sales of electric vehicles can be. Customers should be able to buy the car they want and be sure they can charge it anywhere – which has not always been a given in the situation to date.”
In Europe, new rules will also apply to charging infrastructure from autumn 2015. Each new fast charging station must include at least one CCS connector, so that in future customers can rely on being able to access CCS charging at all fast charging points. As the number of fast charging stations soars (there are currently over 1000 charging points with CCS throughout Europe), vendor-specific charging systems will be prohibited in future. As with mobile phones, this new ruling is the EU’s move to ensure standardised, and thus
customer-friendly, charging infrastructure.
CCS is also included in the 400 new charging stations planned for construction by 2017 under the German government’s SLAM project (a German acronym standing for ‘fast charging networks for transport axes and metropolitan areas’).
Founder members of CharIN include Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Opel, Porsche and Volkswagen, industrial connector manufacturers Mennekes and PhoenixContact, and TÜV SÜD as the initiative’s independent partner for safety, certainty and interoperability.
TÜV SÜD is among Europe’s leading certification bodies for electric vehicle charging stations. The service provider has long called
for high globally streamlined safety standards in electric vehicles, and has worked towards this goal by establishing a global network of battery testing centres and partnering OEMs in vehicle development.
For more information, visit www.tuev-sued.de/e-mobility.