Tesla Quietly Joins CCS Partnership


According to a report by Inside EVs, Tesla has become a member of CharIN, a European based organization that promotes the CCS charging standard for plug-in and battery electric vehicles. It was established several years ago by BMW, Audi, VW, Porsche, Daimler, Ford, and General Motors as an industry trade group dedicated to promoting the CCS charging standard. It has recently completed development of 150 kW chargers and will being testing them later this year in California. Its next goal is the creation of 300 kW chargers that also use the CCS standard.

Tesla joins CharIN

The news was first reported by Tom Moloughney, a blogger and expert on EV charging systems. He tells Inside EVs, “I was just told something interesting from a contact I have. I’m guessing you guys have heard of the CharIN Association by now. They are basically a group of European Automakers that got together to work on what will eventually be considered (officially) Level 3 charging based on CCS.

He continues, “They have been working on 150kW CCS DC Fast charge for a few years now and experimenting on speeds up to 300kW. [A]bout a month ago, Tesla quietly asked if they can become a “Core Member”. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting Tesla is going to switch to CCS, but this is very interesting.”

Interesting is putting it mildly. Tesla has invested hundreds of millions of dollars developing its own network of charging stations known as SuperChargers. Up to now, Tesla owners could access the CHAdeMO fast charging stations preferred by Japanese manufacturers using a special adapter. Now it appears they may soon be able to access the CCS network. That raises this interesting question: Will drivers of other cars be able to access Tesla SuperChargers? We don’t know the answer to that question yet.

CharIN Chart

Most plug-in and electric vehicles made today are not able to handle charging that exceeds 50 kW. That’s what the typical DC fast charger provides. Some of them cannot accept anything more than a 240 volt AC Level 2 charger. A charger with 300 kW of power would be able to recharge a properly configured electric car in about one sixth the time of today’s typical fast charger.

Just exactly what impact Tesla’s membership in the group may have is unclear. But standards are what open the door to mass adoption of new technology. If the CCS standard becomes the industry norm, the industry will build products that are compatible with it. The more manufacturers who sign on to a charging standard, the better for all electric car enthusiasts.

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • zn

    Interesting indeed, least not because Musk very publicly announced Tesla will be doubling its Supercharger stations over the next year or so. Given the timing then, one could assume CCS and SC stations will be in someway compatible going forward. So…. everyone wins?

    • Steve Hanley

      Musk says his main goal is to get everyone driving an electric car. Harmonizing charging capabilities would certainly be one way of making that happen. So yes, everyone wins. : – )

  • Marcel

    Good, another smart move by Tesla. They are the most relevant company at the moment. Looks like HD DVD vs bluray again, hopefully CCS will become the standard for charging.

    • Steve Hanley

      I was thinking of 8 track vs cassette myself, Marcel! : – )

    • Jacob

      Stop saying CCS.

      You mean SAE J1772 or Mennekes.

    • jeffhre

      you are hoping for this at 50 KW…

      over Tesla’s compact plug at 135 KW?

      • Knut Erik Ballestad

        The point is that you can reach 300kW on the ‘Frankenplug’, and that it is a standard. These two features might be enough to seriously consider switching.

        • jeffhre

          For OEMs, yes. Whereas usually consumers respond positively to features that improve the quality of their lives; usually 🙂

          • Knut Erik Ballestad

            I would say that more than doubling the charging speed – or more than halving charging time if you like definitely is a feature that improve the quality of life 🙂

            The size of the plug clearly does not, but I don’t really see anything getting worse either.

            And in non-supercharger situations, you would only use the top half part of the plug anyway, which anyway is the plug currently in use on European Tesla’s.

          • jeffhre

            Yes. When you do see it – let us know.

          • Knut Erik Ballestad

            Yes, there are clear diadvantages also – as you state. But, the main advantage would be access to CCS charging stations – which here in Europe are becoming quite widespread.

            Here in Norway for example, there are CCS DC-chargers every 30-50 km on all major highways, while Tesla superchargers are only located on strategic locations on the most important highways. Being able to charge on both would be a major plus in my opinion.
            – althought most of the current CCS chargers only charge at 50kW
            – some current CCS chargers can be expanded in 10kW increments to 100kW

          • jeffhre

            Agreed, access to some form of fast charging v none is a huge advance forward.

  • AaronD12

    This is possibly so Tesla can develop a CCS-to-Tesla adapter, as they already have with the CHAdeMO-to-Tesla adapter.

  • Knut Erik Ballestad

    It would be easy for Tesla to add CCS to their supercharging network, in the same way many old Chademo chargers have been upgraded by adding CCS.
    The main infrastructure cost is the power lines + power electronics/inverters etc. The electronics and the cable is peanuts compared to that.

    Tesla could then easily charge high rates for CCS charging (and maybe also Model 3’s), and still support the Model S/X’s for free. This way their supercharger network could become a big profit channel for Tesla instead of an investment ‘sink’.

    The business case for continuing to build out superchargers just got a lot better 🙂
    – and it’s a win-win for all parts.

  • Knut Erik Ballestad

    Making the Tesla’s compatible with CCS should be feasible. Already the Type2 connector is used in European Teslas.
    – just add the bottom two DC pins to the connector and add electronic support for the CCS protocol – and you have a car that can charge on a CCS charger.

    So going forward and making the charge plug physically compatible with both the Tesla superchargers and with CCS chargers should be a breeze – but I guess there will be a lot of work ‘behind the plug’ 🙂

  • Master_Rabbit

    at 300kw we’d be looking at 10-15 minute charging cycles. Just enough time for a $4 cup of coffee and a $6 organic scone-looking piece of pastry, all wrapped up with some complimentary wee-fee where I could let my car charge and park itself while speed watch last night’s Game of Thrones.

    Beef Jerky for the road!

    • jeffhre

      Scones are for breakfast – I’m waiting for the 50% off of 3-day-old-burrito speed charges!