Think of it as a BMW-General Motors combo for the Combo. The two automakers have worked together to ensure that the BMW i3 and the Chevrolet Spark Electric will be the first two US vehicles to be compatible with the recently developed Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) so-called fast-charging "Combo" standard

Bimmer and the General collaborated on getting their upcoming EVs to conform to the fast-charging standard that will allow for both AC and DC charging in the same port. ABB and Eaton are among the component suppliers that worked on the new system.

BMW says the Combo system will allow for fast charging that will allow for the i3 to be 80 percent recharged in about 20 minutes. The i3 will be BMW's first production EV when deliveries start later this year, while Chevy is set to debut the Spark EV (pictured) this month.

Last fall, the SAE finalized the technical standards for the Combo system that's been embraced by US and European plug-in vehicle makers. Meanwhile, Japanese plug-in vehicle makers are backing the competing CHAdeMO standard, as you can read here. Check out BMW's press release and a video from GM below.

<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/G4ucddGGI8w&quot; frameborder=" 0"="" allowfullscreen="" height="353" width="628">

Show full PR text
BMW, GM Engineers Complete Testing on DC Fast Charge Station Usage
  • Teams complete validation on BMW i3 and Chevrolet Spark EV using stations manufactured by various suppliers
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 11, 2013... 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. DC Fast Charge is expected to be available when the BMW i3 launches in the US.

BMW Group In America

BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 118 MINI passenger car dealers, and 34 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at: www.bmwgroupna.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 62 Comments
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      The 2014 Volt better have it too. And I'm still steamed that GM has broken its word to make the Volt flex-fueled.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        I think the Volt should NOT have it. Just drive on gas, that's why you bought a PHEV. Don't clog up a fast-charger because you want to save $2 on gasoline.
          carney373
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          If it's so fast, you won't clog it up for long. And why ascribe purely mercenary motives to PHEV drivers, when PHEVs cost more than pure BEVs?
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          I agree with you about making this a negative thing carney373. But who is going to want to pull over every 38 miles? Putting in gas will make more sense most of the time.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Obviously, for all who know me, I don't give a crap if it runs on ethanol or not. But, since the car is big on green cred, throw in the Teflon, the stainless lines, the engine sensor, and slap on that FFV label. For the overall cost of the car, if my Beloved 2000 Ford Ranger can be FFV, then a Chevy volt can too.
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Translation: If your car runs on electricity or gas, you should always use gas! Because I was blocked once and now I'm really irritated about it.
        Rob Mahrt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        I would think you would be able to get a pretty good charge on the Volt in 15 minutes.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        No way it shows up on a 2014 Volt. It might show up on the 2nd gen Volt though. But the small pack size will limit the charge rate in miles per minute. It will hardly be worth it.
      kEiThZ
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla will win the format war. While everybody else is focusing on the format fight, Tesla is building highly visible and recognizable infrastructure everywhere. Sooner or later, other EV owners will be asking why they can't use that nice charging station they saw at the highway service centre.
        aatheus
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kEiThZ
        Tesla's CEO has said that Tesla is willing to let other manufacturers use the stations, if they pay and license their connectors. But since a Model S inlet costs $1000 retail if you just go to the Parts Department, I think I'll take the Frankenplug.
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @aatheus
          I'm pretty sure executive pride will prevent anyone else from going with Tesla chargers.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kEiThZ
        They are not even in the war. They are doing their own thing.
      SublimeKnight
      • 1 Year Ago
      They replicated the functionality of CHAdeMO with a different plug. What a remarkable accomplishment.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        You gotta take one step at a time. This connector is much better and support is broader. This could be a big day for the industry.
        carney373
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        Unless I misunderstand, CHAdeMO is incapable of Level 1 or Level 2 charging, requiring two receptacles in a CHAdeMO car. If so, the Combo charger makes more sense to me.
      Electron
      • 1 Year Ago
      Guess Tesla will define the standard for serious range EVs while SAE combo will be the standard for the city EVs the rest of the industry seems to limit itself to.
        TurboFroggy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Electron
        Yep that is correct, the rest of the industry can't seem to build an EV with 150+ miles of range for less than a million euro: http://green.autoblog.com/2013/06/14/what-on-earth-is-audi-doing-with-e-tron/
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TurboFroggy
          TurboFroggy You can buy a 200+ mile, Liberty Electric Range Rover, for about 150,000 Euro.
          TurboFroggy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @TurboFroggy
          Oh to add to the confusion, the R8 eTron has a Chademo fast charge connector on it..
      Nick Kordich
      • 1 Year Ago
      InsideEVs had an article on multi-standard chargers, revealing that a charger with J1772/SAE DC and CHAdeMO capability costs about 5% more than CHAdeMO-only: http://insideevs.com/chademo-assocation-nissan-and-volkswagen-align-on-promoting-multi-standard-quick-chargers/ A few thoughts drawbacks to supporting multiple standards, aside from the extra cost: 1. Some CHAdeMO stations support connecting two cars even though they only support DC charging one at a time. This allows multiple cars to be connected and the charger to automatically switch from one vehicle to the other. Multi-standard chargers would be unlikely to have two connectors of the same type (such as two CHAdeMO) so that this ease of use might be sacrificed except where a CHAdeMO and a SAE DC compatible car happened to be parked next to one another. 2. DC rapid chargers that also support J1772 charging might result in a car performing a relatively slow level 2 AC charge occupying a space that could support DC charging. Some CHAdeMO charger locations support J1772 by a second charger nearby, rather than having J1772 built into the same unit. This adds to the cost, but it prevents a slow level 2 charging vehicle from blocking the DC rapid charger and provides a more robust solution (a separate level 2 charger may continue to work in circumstances where the DC rapid charger failed). 3. Depending on the implementation, this can take up more space. It appears some multi-standard designs might have CHAdeMO on one side and SAE DC on the other, requiring two parking places. Aside from making parking more confusing (requiring you to confirm which side the compatible connector is on, as well as park the car in the appropriate position so that it can easily reach your charging port), it could mean that an additional regular parking space would need to be sacrificed.
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      So where can a DIY'er pick up one of these plug receptacles? I know the LiFePO4 batteries can handle fast charging, but I kind of doubt we will see much of it around remote Ohio anytime soon. If the State and Federal DOT would put that $100 EV registration towards building these stations along the major highways inbetween cities... I would be in favor of that and would give them double. This also is where having cars that use fewer watts per mile comes into play. It is faster to charge a more efficient vehicle.
        omni007
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ryan
        Wait, are you saying use a smaller, lighter battery that charges more quickly? In a more efficient car? Watch out, you're sounding like Dan again :) Edison2 made that same point, by the way: http://www.edison2.com/blog/2011/5/26/the-charge-time-metric.html If you make the car efficient enough, you can charge very quickly and yet have long range at high speeds.
      omni007
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've heard the diesel are larger just so they can't be inserted accidentally into a gasoline vehicle's fuel door.
      Tysto
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hooray! GM and BMW are now only 4 years behind Nissan (who is 4 years behind Tesla)!
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tysto
        Really? I thought Chademo had thousands of chargers all over the world and Tesla has a small handful in one country.
          Andrew
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Yep, http://www.chademo.com/ lists 2608 CHAdeMO chargers. Their tends to be out of date and I'm pretty sure the 160 count in the US is too low.
      spannermonkeyuk
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meanwhile, 10,000 Teslas were supercharging at 120kW.
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      As of now, I want the combo charger to win the format war, but most of all, I want SOMEONE to win the format war, utterly and decisively, to reduce consumer confusion and FUD and speed EV adoption.
        aatheus
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        I'm fine with either format "winning". Right now we're in the HD-DVD vs Blu-ray format war. Eventually we will have like we have now for HD DVDs: disk drives read both formats. DC Fast Charger manufacturers, if they're smart, will put both (or all 3, if they can do Tesla) fast charge nozzles on their units.
      _Wa2
      • 1 Year Ago
      Working link http://youtu.be/G4ucddGGI8w
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      All gas cars come with one size opening, and all gas stations have one size nozzle. Same with computer accessories - USB is king now, but before that you had several sizes of COM ports, printer ports, scsi ports, the 'game' port for joysticks... what a mess computers were, until the 2000's! The auto industry has not learned this lesson just yet, it's frustrating for the time being, but i know they will get it eventually. Hopefully this will be the standard.
        aatheus
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Not quite true on the gas pumps. At least in California, diesel and gas nozzles are different shapes (due to the vapor capture).
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        That's great, except USB 3.0 cables are different than 2.0 cables and really most desktop computers also have Firewire and/or eSATA. Oh and none of those carry video so you've got HDMI or DVI or Display Port or Mini Display Port or Mini DVI and 15-pin VGA since all the projectors at the office seem to still be VGA. Oh and some of those carry audio but some don't, so you'll also need a whole bunch of analog connectors or a digital connector. And even the digital connector might be either electrical coax or it might be optical. Theoretically Thunderbolt could replace them all, but it's not really catching on.
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