It's interesting what's happening in the electric vehicle field. It used to be that BMW and Tesla were competitors. Then – and of course they're still competing, especially in the public mind – they were working together on ... something. Maybe. And now, the Financial Times reports that the two luxury automakers are meeting with Nissan. Again, maybe.

The scuttlebutt is that the three companies are interested in working together on something to do with charging electric vehicles, potentially a global recharging standard. Currently, when it comes to fast charging, BMW uses the SAE Combo standard, Nissan uses CHAdeMO and Tesla uses its own Superchargers.

The meeting was prompted by Tesla opening of all of its patents the other day, FT says. Speaking during the recent annual shareholder meeting, Musk said he was "more than happy to have other manufacturers" use Tesla's Superchargers but that, "there is no other electric car that can accept anything close to 135 kilowatts."

Let's assume the technical hurdle can be overcome. With any potential patent/licensing problems out of the way, these discussions with BMW and Nissan might be revolving around this other angle that Musk mentioned: "They (other automakers) just have to contribute to the capital cost, so figure out what percentage of the time are their cars using the Supercharger network and then they can make a contribution proportionate to their customer usage of the Supercharger network." That certainly sounds like something that could take some time to figure out.


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  • 61 Comments
      SeadogMillionaire
      • 6 Months Ago
      I would like to see GM and Ford also get in on this, since electric cars are here to stay. I'm not certain what Chrysler (Fiat) is up to, since they pretend that they don't like electric cars (which is strange because they have the most to lose, when gasoline hits $5.00 - 6.00 a gallon in two years). The more manufacturers who agree to the standardization of charging and receivers, the faster the infrastructure will be completed.
      FREEPAT75014
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is all great news that they talk. Considering fast chargers will force German car makers to move to PHEVs with DECENT battery sizes instead of ridiculous / far too small
      Anderlan
      • 6 Months Ago
      There's no other electric car with a BIG ENOUGH BATTERY to accept 135kWh! Even the 50kW spec max (most units are
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Anderlan
        The size of the battery doesn't have that much to do with it. Its rather how the charging in the car is designed.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Days Ago
          The battery is really the only thing that has to do with it... there is no DC charger on board.... the Chademo or Supercharger, makes a direct connection to the batteries.
          Spec
          • 2 Days Ago
          Oh, the size of the battery certainly matters a lot. The C rate does too but you can make up for that by increasing the numbers of cells and spreading the load out among many cells.
      CaptTesla
      • 6 Months Ago
      Let's just hope they require them to use only EV's with the superchargers and not the hybrids BMW and GM are pushing with the volt and I series. We don't need superchargers overrun with cars that stop at gas stations
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        @CaptTesla
        Musk had already mentioned how there will be a sliding scale price for the license depending how long a vehicle will be taking up a stall. Remember, a small capacity battery usually has a small power density too. 135 KW is a waste for something that can only charge at 44KW - 50KW.... like the Leaf battery... Remember, the power output of the pack PEAKS at ~90KW. And can only sustain about 60%-65% of that power while charging... Just like the Model S has peak power above 225 KW... and sustains 60% of that for charging. A hybrid battery of less than 16 KW of capacity, will not be able to charge up much faster than 10 KW... still only 2 hours at a charger... but really a supercharger is not a place for that.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Quite true.. thanks.
          protomech
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Plug-in hybrid batteries tend to be more power dense than BEV batteries .. but the overall power available is still usually somewhat lower (i8 = 7.1 kWh, 96 kW max motor power = ~15C discharge .. i3 = 22 kWh, 130 kW = ~6C discharge). The plug-in battery might be able to accept a large fraction of the power of the BEV, but the plug-in will be charged much more quickly. Assume both batteries can accept 20% of peak discharge as continuous charge to 80% .. that's 20 kW for the 7.1 kWh battery, 17 minutes from 0% to 80% .. 26 kW for the 22 kWh battery, 41 minutes from 0% to 80%.
      Spec
      • 6 Months Ago
      I wonder if Chademo and SAE-CCS are both garbage standards that were designed with much too timid charge rates for eventual EVs. Perhaps Tesla saw (or gambled) that battery prices would eventually drop significantly such that all EVs would have relatively large batteries in them that could be charged at fast rates. And if 200 mile range EVs become the standard, both the Chademo and SAE-CCS chargers will seem like obsolete garbage.
      Jim Stack
      • 6 Months Ago
      Hmm Nissan uses CHAdeMO and BMW used SAE-Combo neither yet has highway range capability. Maybe the Super Charger will be come the standard when the 200 or so range is available by all EV makers in 2016? But older cars will be local only which is still perfect for most trips and days. We are a 2 EV family and we may have 1 long range and 1 regular range to cover every trip.
      Jim1961
      • 6 Months Ago
      It would be completely effing cool if Tesla traded it's EV related patents for BMW's carbon fiber manufacturing patents.
      GleninCA
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is great. Glad to see Nissan and BMW trying to work with Tesla. I know that their current tech wouldn't work with a Supercharger, but if it did does anyone know how long it would take to charge a Leaf (either with the current battery or one with a 200 mile range)?
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Days Ago
        @GleninCA
        About the same amount of time for a full battery recharge from near empty to near full. But only 1/3rd the amount of miles per the same amount of time. about 1/3rd the range... but also about 1/3 the power too.
      bluepongo1
      • 6 Months Ago
      Excellent, BMW & Nissan are forward thinking enough to raise their standards to Tesla Motor's standards. German & Japanese companies companies can follow Tesla Motors with BMW & Nissan or be left behind ...making excuses playing the compliance / Gov. welfare R&D / emissions / MPG game. :-)
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      --- https://openuserjs.org/scripts/joeviocoe/Autoblog_Comments ---- v 0.7.2 now available I have really been hating the Autoblog comment system the last couple of years. For anyone who is familiar with the AOL system, it is horrible to navigate, impossible to edit, they removed the hyperlinks, frequently the comments will double-posts or not even allow submission. Unfortunately most of these problems are server-side and I cannot do anything about that. No, I cannot do anything about the lack of an Edit feature, nor fix the frequent bugs in comment system. However, I did write my first Javascript code to at least make it much easier to navigate, read, and keep up with conversations. Features: -- Expand/collapse ALL comments and replies. -- Hyperlinks are BACK! -- Highlight and scroll directly to your own comments. -- Highlight the age of recent comments (with increasing emphasis on newer posts). -- Watch page for new comments (coming soon) Please feel free to play around with the features... Although the script should not interfere at all with normal functions this is still a work in progress, so please leave comments at the OpenUserJS.org page under 'issues'. I have tested this with the latest Chrome and Firefox Browsers. This script requires either Firefox or Chrome... and the Browser Extension Greasemonkey or Tampermonkey. Once the browser extension is installed... go to --- https://openuserjs.org/scripts/joeviocoe/Autoblog_Comments ---- ... and click "Install". The script will be active only when you browse to an article on autoblog.com and green.autoblog.com Thanks for your time... and thank you if you are able to try/test this for continued improvement. Enjoy. :)
      Grendal
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm glad to see Tesla working with the other companies making a big bet on EVs. This is what Tesla/Elon is all about.
      Rotation
      • 6 Months Ago
      Musk has been talking about opening the superchargers since day 1. It seems more likely this is about patents or other items. What use does BMW or Nissan have for chargers that are further out of town than their cars can even drive?
        Grendal
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Elon recently said that Tesla has decided that Superchargers are needed in big cities. If Nissan and BMW join in then they can pay for some of those city SCs which will, at the very least, be good PR for their own vehicles. They can adapt their charging system to allow for SCing and then they are good to go.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          @purrpullberra and Grendal, I bet their are many cheap Tesla drivers that will charge up at the super chargers before they go home if they start putting them in major cities. I would say Seattle needs one but Portland Or does not. It is about 150 miles apart from Centrailia Wa to Burlington Wa. The next one close to that far apart in my neck of the woods are Mt Shasta CA to Grants Pass OR and has large elevation changes.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          Welcome to our fair city. Next time your here I will shuttle you around in the Tesla if I am in town. I live right by PDX.
          purrpullberra
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          Are you aware of another case where Elton has changed his whole attitude about like the shift in Supercharger placement/usage? I keep saying/thinking "...as originally intended..." when discussing them. I suspect it was Europe that made him realize that cities would require them. But who knows?
          Grendal
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          Nissan and BMW can go the adapter route like Tesla did until a later version where the plug is included with the car. If they are all cooperating then that would work.
          Grendal
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          That is very kind of you to offer EVSuperhero. Thanks.
          Grendal
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          I was in Portland yesterday. I saw a Signature Red Model S in Eugene.
          Grendal
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          @purr It was in Europe and Asia that Elon made the switch. He had to adjust to the fact that European cities and cities in Asia have lots of apartment/condos without parking. Those customers will need a location to go to for a full charge and waiting eight hours would not be acceptable. America has a different layout than most of the world and his plan was USA-centric in its original concept.
          Rotation
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Grendal
          So next step would be for Tesla to realize that the chargers need to have connectors on them that work with other cars. Nissan already has two charger connectors on them and no Tesla charger will plug into either of them.
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