How many plug ports does the electric vehicle industry need? One more, apparently. German automakers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen – in conjunction with General Motors and Ford – will unveil the Combined Charging System at the 15th International VDI-Congress and Exhibition in Germany today.

The Combined Charging System is a universal setup that makes compatible a single port with all existing charging methods: single-phase AC, three-phase AC, residential DC or DC quick-charge at public stations. This all-levels ability is what sets the Combined Charging System apart from the SAE J1772 connector or even the increasingly common DC quick-charge CHAdeMO protocol.

This universal interface will supposedly reduce the complexity for development and deployment of electric vehicles. As usual, the Combined Charging System integrates communication, charging and safety features into a single connector. Daimler states that the Combined Charging System will be ready for deployment in mid-2012. SAE International is also working on a multi-level coupler (pictured), which should be finalized during the first quarter of 2012.
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Combined Charging: The universal charging system for electric vehicles jointly demonstrated by German vehicles manufactures for the first time.

The German vehicle manufactures Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen are going to present the Combined Charging System at the 15th International VDI-Congress and Exhibition "Electronic Systems for Motor Vehicles" from 2011-10-12/13 for the first time. The Combined Charging System has been developed in close cooperation with the American vehicle manufacturers Ford and General Motors (GM). This universal charging system needs only a single charging interface at the vehicle allowing the customer to charge with all existing charging methods: one-phase AC-charging, fast three-phase AC-charging, DC-charging at home or ultra-fast DC-charging at public charging stations.

A uniform vehicle interface reduces the complexity for development and deployment of electric vehicles. Multiple connectors in the infrastructure and different charging inlets at the vehicle are not needed for AC-charging on the one hand and DC-charging on the other hand. This unification goes beyond the connector: The Combined Charging System integrates also the charging communication and the electric and safety architecture. This will lead to cost reduction and facilitates the spread of electro-mobility at world level.

The concept of the Combined Charging System was submitted in close cooperation with the above mentioned American vehicle manufacturers to the International Standardization in January 2011. The presentation at Baden-Baden will show the installation of the Combined Charging System in vehicles of manufactures being part of this initiative. This marks another development milestone. The Combined Charging System will be ready for deployment mid 2012 and then introduced into the market.

The vehicle manufactures Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, and Volkswagen have joined their forces in the Initiative Charging Interface and are the main drivers in the development of the Combined Charging System.

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