A couple of recent announcements have heralded the end of the so-called “AC plug war” here in Australia, as well as potentially signalling the ending of the DC one too.
At the recent EV Expo at the Brisbane Convention Centre – the displayed Nissan Leaf was sporting not the expected type 1 charging socket that is standard for Japanese electric vehicles – but a Type 2, in line with the recommended AC plug choice for Australia.
This means that Type 1 plugs (as found in the original Leaf, iMiEV and most pre 2018 EVs here) are no longer offered by any new EV sold in Australia.
This also means that ALL new EVs sold in Australia will use the Type 2 socket that offers the benefit of a three phase charging option – allowing for charging either a Renault Zoe (at 22kW) or a BMWi3 (at 11kW) in less than three hours on AC.
With the paucity of DC fast-chargers in Australia a three phase AC charging option for a battery electric vehicle (BEV) makes sense. Regional, and even interstate trips are at least within the realm of practicable when combined with the 200–400km plus range of the current crop of BEVs.
The choice then becomes whether an 11kW or 22kW charging speed is offered by the manufacturer (or if the charging remains at the maximum single phase rate of 7kW).
One could say that with the adoption of the Type 2 socket, the AC charging speed battle has begun in earnest as other manufacturers such as Jaguar, Nissan and Hyundai are losing out in the advertising battle by currently only offer single phase 7kW AC charging.
But what about DC fast and ultra-fast charging? Has the plug war between the three competing major DC standards (CHAdeMO, CCS and Tesla) come any closer to a conclusion? Well a big announcement from Tesla perhaps saw the beginning of the end of that one too.
That announcement came with the opening of Tesla showrooms in Italy, Germany and several other European countries yesterday to show off the European version of the Model 3.
What was most notable (apart from the long lines of people wanting to view them) was the Model 3s on show sported CCS2 charging sockets instead of the modified Type 2 for both AC and DC charging that Tesla has been using in all three phase/400V countries.
Until now, Tesla has played both sides of the street offering its own DC standard through its Superchargers and offering adaptors for CHAdeMO DC charging. (….. plus played a ‘third side’ by several years ago joining the CCS alliance as a core member).
This last item has been giving rise to rumours that they might move to a CCS port in 3 phase countries – but this is the first definitive proof that it is actually happening.
If Tesla moves fully to the common CCS2 standard for its Superchargers and begins to offer CCS2 adaptors for existing Tesla vehicles instead of CHAdeMO adaptors (and in Europe, Tesla is now adding CCS2 leads in addition to the Tesla charging leads to its Superchargers), the tide goes out for the CHAdeMO standard.
Effectively Tesla has finally picked a side, and in doing so signals that CCS DC is almost certainly going to become the single DC charging plug standard.
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector for 10 years, and also is editor of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association newsletter.