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Product, Service & Design Innovation
GM, BMW Complete Successful Testing on DC Fast Charge Stations

After several days of joint testing, General Motors and BMW AG engineers say they are confident that DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations from several suppliers will consistently allow an electric vehicle to take on an 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes.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, the announcement says. Some of the suppliers participating in the testing were ABB, Aker Wade, Eaton and IES.

After several days of joint testing, General Motors and BMW AG engineers say they are confident that DC “Combo” Fast Charge stations from several suppliers will consistently allow an electric vehicle to take on an 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes.

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, the announcement says. Some of the suppliers participating 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 i3 customers the premium fast charging experience in time for the arrival of the BMW i3,” said Cliff Fietzek, manager connected e-Mobility at BMW of North America LLC. “We are pleased that we will meet our goal.”

Just as most major automakers adopted the SAE’s 120V/240V AC connector standard to assure plug-in vehicles could access all charging infrastructure, eight automakers — GM, Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche — have committed to adopting the SAE combo fast charge connector, assuring standardization of the DC Fast Charge connectors.

This combined AC and DC charging, or combo, connector provides added ease of use for DC Fast Charging, which includes a single charge port on the vehicle and allows electricity to flow faster, making EVs more convenient and reliable to use for consumers who may not have access to overnight charging at home. DC Fast Charging allows EV owners to recharge their batteries up to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes, according to the announcement.

“This successful testing is an important milestone that underscores our commitment to enable the next generation of electric vehicles," said 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 DC Fast Charge option is expected to be available a few months after the Spark EV launches in California and Oregon this summer.

BMW has recently moved from the sidelines to the forefront of electric cars and mobility services with its BMW i line, which was built from the ground up as a luxury EV option.

Earlier this year, Google, Verizon and several other major U.S. employers and stakeholder groups joined the Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, which aims to increase workplace charging by tenfold over the next five years.

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