Here's a classic pot-kettle-black story. Daimler, which has a partnership with Tesla, is calling the EV automaker out for its Supercharger stations that - at this point - only work with Tesla vehicles. Daimler, along with supplier Bosch, is saying that there should be compatible standards in the EV industry. Tesla has big plans to install Supercharger throughout Germany (and Europe), but Daimler isn't singing praises.

Daimler's research and design chief, Thomas Weber told Automobilwoche that, "The future [of an electric charging infrastructure] lies in standardization. As with gas stations, we need a charging system for all manufacturers, not least because it reduces the cost of the infrastructure, but it is also more convenient for customers."

That's true as far as it goes. The irony here, of course, is that Daimler and its partners chose to develop a new DC fast charging system, the SAE Combo system, despite the fact that another standard (CHAdeMO) was already widely available. The SAE Combo team said when the technology was unveiled that it, "will optimize customer ease of use and will accelerate more affordable deployment of electrified vehicles and charging infrastructure," even though there are thousands of CHAdeMO stations in operation today and only a handful of SAE units.


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  • 121 Comments
      BipDBo
      • 8 Months Ago
      I'm sure that Tesla is hoping that other manufacturers will adopt their format. Other companies could simply pay Tesla royalties and usage charges or partner up to make the existing network larger. That would be a win-win for all parties involved, except for of course, Bosch.
        raktmn
        • 8 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        I believe Tesla has said exactly that in the past. I remember reading something like that... I've just got to figure out where...
        Grendal
        • 8 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        That is my thinking too. Partners need to assist in expanding the network.
      paulwesterberg
      • 8 Months Ago
      The CHAdeMO standard sucks because it forces vehicles to have two charge ports. The SAE Combo sort of solves that problem, but it is still bigger and bulkier than Tesla's connector. Personally I would like to see other car companies license Tesla's connector system and be allowed to use the superchargers if they pay a reasonable fee. Tesla can use the fees to build more superchargers.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Yeah, that is an annoying aspect. But I think the bigger problem is the license fees to TEPCO that the USA and German auto companies don't want to pay.
          paulwesterberg
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Spec
          I guess that Tesla created the Chademo adaptor so they could sell vehicles in Japan. Chademo chargers are already so prevalent there that I don't see any other charging system gaining much of a foothold there.
      mycommentemail
      • 8 Months Ago
      Put your money where your mouth is. Build your own Supercharger network that works as well as the Tesla network but uses a "standard" connector. Then we can talk.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 8 Months Ago
      The grapes, they are sour - sour I tell you!
      Joeviocoe
      • 8 Months Ago
      THIS is what "disruption" looks like :) Kind of similar to the Dealership battle when you think about it. A flawed system (Chademo) that only works 'good enough' for existing, entrenched parties. But hardly a system that is conducive for a start up like Tesla to thrive and grow rapidly. So Tesla decides to blaze their own trail, because they deserve to do what is best for their own product line. But this threatens the status quo and the entrenched parties... because people start to realize that this 'new system' is not only better for start ups, but actually a better system overall. So now, some people have sour grapes that Tesla could show them how mediocre the current system is... and how it may have been a huge waste.
      Levine Levine
      • 8 Months Ago
      Bosch and Daimler are the Johnny-come-lately in the EV market. Instead of being a leader in the DC fast charger arena and EV market , they abdicated their leadership and allowed Tesla to take the risk of producing two viable EVs and their support charging facilities. Today, Tesla Model S is poised to strike at the heartland of Stuttgart. As to DC Fast chargers and EVs, Bosch and Daimler are in full retreat and disarray while Tesla is staging an American style Blitzkrieg uber Deutschland und der Welt. Neither have the EV vehicle nor the advance DC charger of Tesla. It is only a matter of time before both will concede defeat and accept Tesla DC charger as the default standard of Europe.
      purrpullberra
      • 8 Months Ago
      This sounds so lame, like the whining of lazy, bloated old farts. They have no room to criticize based on their releasing an independent 'standard' as pointed out. But also the implication here is that Tesla were wrong to do the Supercharger network which is total BS. Tesla's success is inextricably linked to the whole system they are setting up and supercharging is deeply embedded in the system. Tesla are SETTING the standard and others either license it or do something better. Crying like a little b1+ch doesn't help anything, MB/Bosch.
        lad
        • 8 Months Ago
        @purrpullberra
        Tesla is getting on with the program while all the AAM (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) members follow the script from their lobbyists and coordinators, i.e., slow down the EV movement so we can maximize ICE profits. So, they do this by littering the pond with red herrings like the SAE plug and petty attack articles, among other things. Rest assured a standard is developing and it may well be a de facto Tesla standard because they will achieve critical mass before MB and Bosch dry their tears. All Tesla has to do is announce their stations are ready for use by other EVs and provide a CHAdeMo adapter where necessary. This could shut out the other makers who are installing the slow developing SAE plug. Perhaps there might even be an SAE adapter available for the Bosch kludges.
          Joeviocoe
          • 8 Months Ago
          @lad
          Rotation... do not pretend I did not already do the math for you on that. With the average number of SC stalls... and the fact that Chademo chargers are counted by 'each charger being one station'. Also, the fact that Superchargers are also more than twice as fast. It works out that Chademo and Superchargers in the U.S. are fairly close. ... and Chademo has been around a lot longer... as Tesla really has only been building SC stations for less than 18 months.
          Levine Levine
          • 8 Months Ago
          @lad
          Providing a CHAdeMo and SAE adapter to the Tesla DC Fast Charge would in effect keep the two competitors alive at the expense of Tesla. I say Tesla should do everything possible to promote and establish Tesla's DC Fast Charger as the standard, even if that means mercilessly killing CHAdeMo and SAE.
          jeff
          • 8 Months Ago
          @lad
          @Rotation... Most Chademo chargers are ONE unit. Most Tesla SC sites have 4-12 units.... The tesla standard is more robust from a mechanical and electrical stand point....
          Rotation
          • 8 Months Ago
          @lad
          There are more CHAdeMO chargers in the SF Bay Area than there are Tesla SuperChargers in the world. I have no idea how you think Tesla can crush the other standards by placing their chargers so far apart. No one else can even drive between them in their EVs.
      Jim1961
      • 8 Months Ago
      Tesla also beats the competition when it comes to charging at home. The optional dual charger is 80 Amps @,240 Volts.
      Joeviocoe
      • 8 Months Ago
      Right now, Tesla's Superchargers provide competition to show how SAE and Chademo must NOT get complacent in their charger technology. If a standard was just "chosen" in 2009 and no others were allowed... we might be stuck at 50KW for a long time, with every automaker blaming "low demand" for poor EV sales as customers look for gasoline cars because of the lack of choice in EV charging. Eventually, this 'standards war' will end.. as they do. But not after the "arms race" has given consumers a better product. In the end, there will be multiple standards available for the variety of EVs. Just as current gasoline stations have 3 levels of octane and sometimes diesel, CNG, Ethanol... I would not be surprised to see Tesla Supercharger Stations carrying adapted cables for Chademo and SAE... after all, only the connector (and some software protocols) need be different. It probably won't be uncommon in the future to see "Tesla Connector cables" on SAE CCS chargers and/or Chademo chargers that will just supply less power. Bottom line... a standards war does provide the competition we need to improve in the short term. In the long term, look for reasonable convergence.
        Dave R
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        CHAdeMO does support 200A, so technically it can do up to 100kW (500V * 200A), though there aren't any stations I'm aware of that will do more than 125A. Practically even at 200A, most cars have a nominal voltage around 360-400V while charging so that will limit the peak rate to 70-80 kW.
      Electron
      • 8 Months Ago
      So Daimler expects Tesla to adopt the unwieldy "Frankenplug" standard with a maximum output only sufficient to recharge the small battery EVs the rest of the industry is turning out in a reasonable time? I can see how a standard like that could work for a company that mostly interested in doing ICEs until the oil runs out while muttering "hydrogen" to keep critics at bay but clearly not so much for a company that's actually serious about EVs.
      Tysto
      • 8 Months Ago
      I was disappointed that the Tesla Supercharger stations didn't include at least one CHAdeMO plug or other level 2 charger compatible with the Nissan Leaf and other EVs. Then everyone could be happy about the rollout, and deals could be struck between Tesla and Nissan for Teslas to always be allowed to charge at Nissan dealerships as well. That might pave the way for the next-gen Nissan EV to be fully Supercharger compatible. But this? Ugh. Daimler can go pound sand.
        Jeff N
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Tysto
        As a Nissan Leaf owner I really don't think it would have made much of a difference. The Superchargers near me are all in places that facilitate long trips. Quite honestly, there's only one Supercharger near my house or office that I could even reach with the range of the Leaf. I'd be much more likely to just find a J1772 at a local Walgreens and it would be much more useful for me.
        Joeviocoe
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Tysto
        Why should any Tesla owner (who paid a $2,000 premium for access to Superchargers)... suffer a Leaf owner to sit in a Supercharger stall for twice as long as a Tesla would?
          Joeviocoe
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          ... for the same amount of energy. Of course the Leaf would be done quickly, as its pack is much smaller.
      E
      • 8 Months Ago
      Any car company claiming a push standardization is hypocrisy in the highest degree. Go to any auto parts stores and see how many different oil filters or air filters exist. It's unbelievable how much effort automakers put to making things proprietary and difficult to work with. Standards are usually forced on manufactures (like OBDII) they never voluntarily standardize anything.
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