The Swedish automaker is looking to grease the skids for its planned expansion of plug-in vehicle production by urging for the adoption of a single charging standard. Volvo's standard of choice comes from the Charging Interface Initiative, a group of stakeholders founded to establish the Combined Charging System (CCS, also known as SAE Combo). Volvo says such a system is best because it's a format in which an AC current can provide as much as DC charging can be done at a maximum of 200 kW. The ultimate goal is a single-system that can deliver as much as 350 kW.
Worldwide adoption of such a system, which is also backed by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), is "sorely needed," says Volvo senior vice president for Research & Development, Peter Mertens. Of course, Volvo has some skin in this game. The automaker last fall said it was planning plug-in hybrid variants of all of its models and forecast that 10 percent of its new-vehicle sales would be of the plug-in variety by the end of the decade. Volvo is planning its next pure battery-electric vehicle by 2019.
While many automakers promote and implement the CCS network Volvo wants to broaden, there is another DC fast charging option out there. Japanese automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi stand behind the CHAdeMO and may have something to say about Volvo's suggestion. Earlier this month, the CHAdeMO Association's European division said it would deploy more than 500 DC fast-chargers across the continent by the end of the year, with the European Union chipping in for some of the funding. Of course, the two standards may not need to be as antagonistic as they have in the past, thanks to dual-chargers. Ultimately, as many as 950 fast chargers and 2,000 semi-fast chargers are planned for Scandinavia, where Volvo is based. Take a look at Volvo's press release below.
Volvo Cars believes the global automotive industry should strive towards the introduction of a standardised charging infrastructure for electric cars, says Dr Peter Mertens, the company's Senior Vice President for Research & Development.
To support this drive towards a global standard for electric car charging, Volvo Cars has decided to throw its weight behind the Charging Interface Initiative, a consortium of stakeholders that was founded to establish their Combined Charging System (CCS) as the standard for charging battery-powered vehicles.
Volvo Cars is one of the leading makers of plug-in hybrid cars and will offer a plug-in hybrid variant on every new model as it replaces its entire product portfolio in the coming years. It will introduce a fully electric vehicle by 2019, based on its modular SPA vehicle architecture.
In order to cement the increasing popularity of electric vehicles and ensure that customers fully embrace the technology, Dr Mertens argues that a simple, standardised, fast and global charging infrastructure is needed.
"We see that a shift towards fully electric cars is already underway, as battery technology improves, costs fall and charging infrastructure is put in place," said Dr. Mertens. "But while we are ready from a technology perspective, the charging infrastructure is not quite there yet. To really make range anxiety a thing of the past, a globally standardised charging system is sorely needed."
Volvo Cars' vision of an electric future
The Combined Charging System, which will offer both regular and fast charging capabilities, makes electric car ownership increasingly practical and convenient – especially in urban environments which are ideal for electric vehicles.
It combines single-phase with rapid three-phase charging, using alternating current at a maximum of 43 kilowatts (kW), as well as direct-current charging at a maximum of 200 kW and the future possibility of up to 350 kW – all in a single system.
The Charging Interface Initiative is currently in the process of drawing up requirements for the evolution of charging-related standards and certification for use by car makers around the globe.
"We are very happy to support and be involved in the setting of standards for electric vehicle charging systems. The lack of such a standard is one of the main obstacles for growing electric vehicles' share of the market," said Dr. Mertens.
Volvo Cars, which has a rich heritage of research and development in electric vehicles stretching back over 40 years, is one of the leading car makers in the field of plug-in hybrids with its Twin Engine technology. Already now, one in five of all Volvo XC90s sold is a T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid.
"Our Twin Engine technology offers the low emissions, silence, convenience and performance of a pure electric car, combined with the range of a conventional powertrain. It offers the benefits of electrification already today," added Dr. Mertens.
Note to Editors:
Information on Charging Interface Initiative e.V.
Volvo Cars' Twin Engine Technology
Volvo Car Group in 2015
For the 2015 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 6,620 MSEK (2,128 MSEK in 2014). Revenue over the period amounted to 164,043 MSEK (137,590 MSEK). In 2015, global sales reached a record 503,127 cars, an increase of 8 per cent versus 2014. The record sales and operating profit cleared the way for Volvo Car Group to continue investing in its global transformation plan.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 503,127 in 2015 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.
As of December 2015, Volvo Cars had almost 29,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company's main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China) and body components in Olofström (Sweden).