GM Finishes Testing the DC “Combo” Fast Charge Station

GM test charge station that can provide 80 percent charge in 20 minutes

For several days this summer, GM was joined by BMW to conduct tests and assess the functionality of the new DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations. When testing wrapped up, engineers representing both automakers were satisfied with the capabilities of the charge stations, which will allow drivers of electric vehicles to achieve approximately 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes.

The combination of AC and DC charging is made possible with the combo connector, which makes it much easier for a variety of electric vehicles to utilize the DC Fast Charging stations. Not only is the system convenient, it is efficient. It works with a single charge port on the cars and allows for a faster rate of electricity transfer.

This increased convenience and speed is a significant help to current drivers of electric vehicles who are not able to charge their vehicles at home on all or any nights. Reducing the need to have continuous access to an at-home charger also overcomes one of the main barriers to widespread adoption of electric vehicles, which is an advantage for automakers.

The Society of Automotive Engineers’ new DC fast charge industry standard will be useful to a range of electric vehicles in the near future. The Chevrolet Spark EV is one of the first vehicles expected to reap the benefits of the enhanced convenience created by these charging stations.

ABB was one of the suppliers that participated in this testing along with Aker Wade, Eaton and IES. “This successful testing is an important milestone that underscores our commitment to enable the next generation of electric vehicles,” said 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.”

A strong motivator encouraging the industry-coordinated effort behind the testing to confirm the software and hardware of the DC Fast Change system was to accelerate the release of SAE Combo DC Fast Charge Infrastructure. The cooperative spirit was aided by the fact that the release of this technology will provide an advantage to so many engineers and automakers all over the world.

“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 of advanced vehicle commercialization policy at GM.

One important factor in hastening the success of the electric car industry is ensuring that common standards are applied to the design of emerging technology. Towards this end, the majority of automakers had previously adopted the SAE 120V/240V AC connector so that all plug-in vehicles would be able to utilize any charging infrastructure. In a similar move of solidarity, eight automakers – GM, Chrysler, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Porsche and Audi – agreed to adopt the SAE combo fast charge connector. This commitment protects the DC Fast Charge connector standardization.

This advance in the technology that underlies the use of electric vehicles will result in myriad benefits. Increased convenience will improve the lives of current electric vehicle drivers and this will entice new consumers to adopt these types of vehicles, benefiting GM and the environment.

This article is presented by Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio.

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