Ford Focus Electric Likely Won't Support DC Fast Charging at Launch

By · January 29, 2011

If you've been following the news about the upcoming Ford Focus Electric, you've likely seen Ed Begley Jr. junior acting as a pitch man for the vehicle. One of the loudest selling points that Ford has Begley Jr. espouse to set the Focus Electric apart from its only all-electric competition—the Nissan LEAF—is that the Focus charges at twice the speed of the LEAF. Turns out, that point is a bit disingenuous.

Yes, It's Technically True That the Focus Electric Charges Twice as Fast as the Nissan LEAF, But...

The difference in charging between the two vehicles when it comes to home charging speeds lies in the fact that charging rates for this type of charging are regulated on-board a given electric car. The first generation Nissan LEAF is equipped with a lower speed charger; Nissan has admitted this was a mistake and has promised to fix it by the next generation of LEAF, due at the end of 2012.

Yet, while it's true that the first generation LEAF is only capable of adding 15 miles of range per hour from what's called a "Level 2" home charging station, whereas the Focus can add about 30, what this fails to take into account is that the LEAF supports incredibly high speed DC fast charging—which can add about 80 miles of range in a half hour of charging. To this point it was unclear whether or not the Focus Electric would support DC fast charging at launch. But based on conversations I've had in the last week with Ford representatives, it appears rather certain at this point that the Focus Electric will hit the market without support for DC fast charging.

"The Ford Focus Electric is focusing on Level 2 charging (240 Volt), and with an onboard charging system that allows a full charge in just over 3 hours (half the time as the competition), this will be the most practical solution for our first generation," said Dan Pierce, Ford Motor Company Communications, in email communications with

So Why the Lack of DC Fast Charging Support?

For those that are unaware, DC fast charging (sometimes incorrectly referred to as "Level 3" charging) uses industrially-rated, gas pump-sized stations with firehose-like cables and plugs to dump electrons directly into a battery. Right now there is only one DC fast charging standard available for companies to adopt—a largely Japanese-led effort called CHAdeMO. By the time the Ford Focus Electric hits the market there will likely be about 400 CHAdeMO-compliant DC fast charging stations scattered throughout the early launch markets of the EV Project.

So great, you might think, DC fast charging seems really promising, let's just get a move on... but you'd be wrong. The Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE), the largest automotive standards organization in the U.S., has been working on its own DC fast charging standards for quite some time now and has yet to come to a conclusion about what standard it will use. The organization is being pulled from competing directions and at this point it doesn't look promising that a standard will be approved anytime soon. The latest news is that the committee at SAE in charge of these standards wants to develop a completely new standard that incorporates both Level 2 and DC fast charging into the same plug format—which could take years.

It is this indecision on the SAE's part that seems to be the deciding factor in the lack of DC fast charging support in the first generation Focus Electric. "We have not announced our plans for fast charging yet, but we are interested in an industry standard, and not a Ford unique solution," said Pierce. "Fast charge will not be included on the Focus Electric until an industry standard has been set by SAE. Once an approved/accepted standard is in place, we will work on getting the car ready for [it]."

What this implies is that Ford doesn't think the CHAdeMO standard is either approved or accepted. But both Nissan and Mitsubishi have incorporated it fully into their product strategies, and as I indicated above, by the time the Focus Electric comes to market there will likely be 400 CHAdeMO-compliant charging stations across the US—and because most of them are part of the EV Project, the US government is funding the installation of a few hundred. Other states, and many large municipalities, are installing them by the dozens as well.

The fact that the SAE is dragging its heels on the DC fast charging topic is what drove everybody else to go with CHAdeMO in the first place. In the end SAE will likely be forced to adopt CHAdeMO anyways and it seems that a company like Ford is shooting itself in the foot by not supporting it from the get go.

Is it a Deal Breaker?

Why is it that nobody can get it exactly right this first go around? A high speed Level 2 charger and support for DC fast charging... is that really too much to ask? On the Focus Electric it would be a relatively easy thing to add to the car where the gas cap is currently located on the combustion version.

Granted, for some people the lack of DC fast charging isn't a big concern, but if you're thinking about future resale value and functionality as the DC fast charging network grows then the first gen Focus Electric misses the mark. Also, if you live in the boondocks like I do and your state is building a fast charging network specifically so you can get across the mountains to Seattle, the lack of fast charging support is a deal-breaker. Adding something like a higher speed Level 2 charger is a relatively simple thing current LEAF owners will likely be able to do for a modest fee when it becomes available, but adding DC fast charging support to the Focus later on will take a feat of monumental cost and effort—so it's not like you can just correct the problem as time goes on.


· Tim H. (not verified) · 7 years ago

Want to make public charging unattractive and totally ineffective for consumers? Develop as many plug formats as the mobile phone industry did in its early years.

· Allannde (not verified) · 7 years ago

SAE needs to get with it.

However, fast charging is a Hobson's choice. Doing it regularly is not good for batteries but it offers an opportunity to make the EV more competitive with ICE vehicles. With battery temperature management, the Ford EV should tolerate fast charging better. Until better batteries are available, it is probably best that an EV is not the only car.

· · 7 years ago

Allande, MIT just did a study that shows fast charging has no appreciable effect on battery lifespan, affecting the battery over the course of 1,500 charge discharge cycles by about 10% capacity:

Granted the battery they tested was an A123 cell—not a LEAF cell—but this lack of an effect is something that Nissan has claimed all along with their battery chemistry too... and their lack of liquid cooled batteries.

· · 7 years ago

Interesting topic - something not discussed much when comparing Leaf & Focus EV. For EV project areas, definitely QC makes a big difference. With QC I can think of going to Portland or Vancouver, BC. With Focus EV that won't be practical ...

· EcoFleet (not verified) · 7 years ago

Great article, Nick! Electric cars are great! Still, I think most people are unaware of the actual amount of power an electric car requires, as compared to, say, an iPhone; and many also seem to ignore the physical limitations of batteries. Your article goes a long way towards illuminating these problems. Imagine a gas pump that dripped 15 miles worth of gas per hour. Electric vehicles have an important role to play in the transportation sector but we need to understand them as a brand new vehicle with new rules. Manufacturers are doing this now, designing the car from the ground up as an electric vehicle, i.e. the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. Now we need to address the consumer's expectations and hopefully find a way to meet in the middle ;)

· · 7 years ago

Personally, given the choice, I'd rather have the 6.6 kW onboard charger than DC fast charging.

First, I can't think of many, if any, times I'd really need DC fast charging.

Second, I'm very concerned about the effect of regular fast-charging on a battery pack's life span.

In fact, the LEAF's 3.3 kW charger really bums me out, and it -- along with the apparent prospect of an EV tax rebate possibly replacing the EV tax credit (which is hopelessly complicated, not to mention unfair because it targets a certain higher income bracket) -- might be enough for me to take myself off the LEAF reservations list and to say let's wait until we can get both a rebate and a 6.6 kW charger.

· Allannde (not verified) · 7 years ago

Chris, I totally agree. In fact I already have taken myself off the reservation list for a Leaf. I look forward to contributing to the success of a domestic auto maker, I like the temperature management of the Ford EV as well as the 6.6 kW charger. I also like the looks of the car better, but that is subjective, of course.

Can we do without fast charging and will the lack of it affect resale? Possibly, but not enough to affect my purchase decision. If we wait for the perfect EV, we may never buy one.

· · 7 years ago

Allande and Christof, it's interesting that you still find the DC fast charging effect on battery longevity to be such an issue in the face of increasing evidence it's not. I'm curious where your feelings on this topic come from?

Also, from my perspective, I'd rather get the LEAF now and upgrade it to a 6.6kW charger later on and then have both the 6.6 and DC as opposed to always only having the 6.6 of the Focus with no option to add DC later on.

· · 7 years ago

Someone just recently wrote that not a lot of charging will be Fast Charge or a battery swap, 98% will be done in Level 2 @ your home. Too many big fish in this small pond, all trying to use the "Regulatory of their country" to their advantage. However, who can blame them, there is suddenly so much at stake no one saw this conflict (battle) coming this fast. Bringing the price of a Prius down to $23K, moving the asleep Mr. Honda, getting the Electric Ford Focus to the market place a lot sooner than they wanted and moving "old thinking" VPs at GM from the paddock to the pasture.

Nick, you are totally correct, Ford shall lose all the advantage they achieved with their 6.6 super-charger by not buying into the "Fast Charge" stations. Maybe their "warmable" battery and seat cannot stand the "Big" charge!

· · 7 years ago

For me a 6.6kW charger is useless. My LEAF is fully charged when I wake up. I don't care if it charges twice as fast when I'm asleep. However, the QC is useful when I need to make longer trips in a day. For longer trips the 6.6kW is again useless for me. I'm not going to wait 2.5 hours for a 6.6kW charge, I want a real quick charge! I can't think of a circumstance, for me, where a 6.6kW charger would be beneficial. In the future, when EVs have much larger packs, then maybe. At that point a 3.3kW charge won't be able to charge over night, if the pack were depleted.

· Peder Norby (not verified) · 7 years ago

Great comments all.

As a Mini-E driver with 25k sunshine powered miles I’ll add a few comments.
The Mini-E home charger is 220v 32 amp for 7kw per hour. It can also charge at 50amp 220 or 11kw per hour as well as the very slow 115v 12amp or 1.3kw per hour. Respectively that’s 4.5 hours, 3 hours or 26 hours.

I would estimate that 90% to 95% of your charging will be done at home, it takes exactly 10 seconds. You just plug it in and forget about it. At midnight my charger is set to begin the flow of electrons, this gives me the lowest rate possible of 13cents per kwh. Of note is that I generate during peak hour much more than I use and get credited 28cents per kwh for the excess. With the 100 mile range of the Mini-E that covers all my driving 350 days a year and I do not need a public charger. 15 days a year, when I’m driving 200 miles plus a public charger would be nice, the faster the better.

On occasion, on Saturday or Sunday we make take a long drive in the morning, return home plug in and then take another long trip in the afternoon. This is where the double the rate charging for the Ford will be an advantage. With the Leaf it’s pretty much one charge per day at 3.3kw per hour.

A few weeks ago I drove to Hollywood for a meeting and a film shoot. It was 107 miles each way in the Mini-E. I made it no problems with several miles to spare doing 65mph with some stop and go traffic. We were shooting for 5 hours, the last three hours were without the car, during that time the car was charging at a nearby BMY dealership and when we were done with the shoot, the car was fully charged for the 107 mile drive home, again no problems with several miles to spare. That was 214 miles of driving in a day and it was easy because I could charge the car at 50 amps 220 for three hours.

So no right or wrong here, you just need to know your lifestyle and driving habits to determine the best fit for you.
Cheers Peder Mini-E #183

· Allannde (not verified) · 7 years ago

Nick, to answer your question. I have owned EVs for four years. Any battery has elevated temperature when charging. A battery when fast charged has sharply greater elevated temperature (on the order of ten times greater). At some point elevated temperature causes physical damage to the battery. The longer the time at elevated temperature, the greater the damage. This is the justification for the expense of liquid cooling. We will not know until there is field experience just how serious this problem will be in practice, but conversions using Li Ion have had serious problems. This is a gamble I choose not to take. People like indyflick will show us either that such fears are unfounded or will lick their wounds. Time will tell.

Also, those with tiered electric charges will benefit highly from the faster level 2 charging because they will be able to do their all of their charging when the rates are lowest. (California is such a state)

I wish the best for all who own and make electric cars, but I will wait for faster level 2 charging and battery temperature management.

· JJJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

Seems like a common case of intentionally crippling the gen 1 product so that 16 months later they can come out with something better, and have a selling point.

"Charges 40% faster!"

This happens in every industry. A feature is ready to go, but is held back so that it can be used to sell the next version.

· · 7 years ago

@Allannde I don't know what EVs you had - but it wasn't using Nissan's batteries, nor its BMS. Anyway we are talking about 2C charging once in a while ...

· Andy (not verified) · 7 years ago

I don't think the SAE have to good a history at standardization of all the many components that should have been standardized in the automotive field.
So why expect any different performance now?

· · 7 years ago

Having owned an EV for daily use, I think I would still choose the FocusEV without the fast charging option. Also, I have no idea if there even is or will soon be a fast charging station in Indianapolis. But I suspect that if Ford hears enough grumbling about this issue, they will opt to have a fast charge port option by the time they finally release the FocusEV. So, if you really want the faster on board Ford charger, and like the design better than the LEAF, but ALSO want the fast charge ability, I would suggest contacting Ford and letting them know. If enough people show them they are making a mistake by omitting this option, I'm sure they'll change their minds.

· Keith (not verified) · 7 years ago

As Peder said, "So no right or wrong here, you just need to know your lifestyle and driving habits to determine the best fit for you." For me the 6.6 kW charger would be nice to have, but not necessary. I could probably get by with 120 V for daily driving. 3-4 times a year I visit family and friends who are 80-90 miles away. DC fast charge would be the best option as I can't count on them having level 2 installed.

The LEAF won't be available in Canada till 2012 anyway. With the Focus not suitable for me, that leaves the Mitsubishi I and the Honda Fit EV as other affordable options for now.

· Stephen Taylor (not verified) · 7 years ago

Over the 10 years I have owned EVs, I've found that I can get by with 120 volt charging for almost all of my EV driving needs. For those few times I need faster charging, it appears that 6.6kw EVSEs will be the easiest to find out in the public so maximizing my EVs ability to utilize that power with a 6.6kw charger onboard will certainly be of benefit for those few times I need it. Of course the even faster DC charging would be even better for those even fewer times that I might want to make some long distance driving, but I haven't experienced that need yet, because I am use to driving my ICE vehicle for those needs.

At this point I can't decide whether the lack of DC charging would change my mind about the Ford Focus EV, but it will certainly make me think twice.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

Ford has always been strange about their chargers. Look at the Ford Ranger EV. It had the AVCON conductive charger which was also incapable of Quick Charging, unlike the Magne-Charger for the EV1 and RAV4 EV.

They like to make vehicles that everybody wants, and at the same time an extreme disadvantage.

· Steven (not verified) · 7 years ago

See if this link doesn't undermine your Nissan LEAF loyalty: All other things being equal, 'cheap tricks' like this are likely to turn the tide. Is it too late for Nissan to do something like it with a mobile phone / iPod app?

Thanks, BTW, for the information about the eventual possibility of a cheap 6.6kw upgrade for a vi LEAF.

· Steven (not verified) · 7 years ago

You have to click "The All Electric Dashboard" and then "Efficiency Coach" to get to the screen I was referring to in the above link -

· · 7 years ago

Steven, I wrote extensively about this very topic in my initial report on the Ford Focus Electric at launch earlier this month:

And, you're right, the LEAF has some serious catch up to play on the driver interface front.

· · 7 years ago

@Steven "See if this link doesn't undermine your Nissan LEAF loyalty"

No it didn't !

I've a feeling you don't know what Leaf actually shows. Some of what Focus shows seems to be a direct copy of Leaf.

BTW, nothing stops Leaf from offering 6.6 KW charger also in MY2012. May be earlier than Focus EV ever goes on sale.

· · 7 years ago

EVNow, Ha! Different strokes for different folks, no? I think, in terms of visual appeal and quality of data displayed the Focus Electric looks like the clear winner. Although the LEAF certainly gets dumped on unfairly for its driver interface.

· · 7 years ago

I go out on a mission to check out a new public charging station and everything falls apart. I don't think I've seen more narrow-minded, uninformed responses to an article yet.
First of all, thangs to Nick for getting into the fast charge news on the Focus EV. IMHO, it sounds like Ford is trying to either shoot themselves in the head, slow the acceptance of EVs, or prove they won't displace ICE. Fast charging is a technology that will make today's batteries work to 100% replace gasoline without waiting for any breakthrough new batteries with huge capacity and extremely low costs. No new technology is needed for fast charging. It has been used at airports and for forklift fleets for over a decade. SAE (run by big auto) appears to be being used to stall the standardization of it - big surprise coming from they who crushed the '90's EVs.
CHAdeMO isn't perfect (it's way too slow for me) but it does work so let's get it going.
With fast charging (160 miles of charging per hour or more), you can drive a 100 mile range EV for 1.5 hours (~90 miles), charge for 30 minutes while taking a bio break or grabbing a tea or coffee (in Japanese, CHAdeMO is like an acronym for "let's get some tea"), then doing another 1.4 hours of driving and repeat. While not quite as convenient as ICE, it still puts a whole lot more places within easy reach of even a cheap 100-mile EV because it adds less than 30% to the time to get there.
A 200-mile EV would allow you to make it a 1 hours stop every 3 hours which is a bit closer to the desired interval.
I'd prefer to see even faster charging. Tesla plans for a 45 minute charge to get you 240 miles of range for the Model S (320 miles/hour charging). I guess they'll continue to lead the pack. Too bad only the wealthy will continue to enjoy the benefits of good, convenient electric transportation for even longer. That's what we get for depending on the ICE companies to make EVs. They will stall as long as they can.

· · 7 years ago

In a nutshell, we want both/and. Fort should just move forward with the standard that exists, not the one that doesn't.

Not being prone to easily accepting conspiracy theories, I highly doubt that Ford is intentionally sabotaging the Focus EV. More likely, they are just being overly conservative, which ought not be surprising considering that large corporations with vested interests tend to adopt new ideas/technologies/approaches more slowly than desired. This is why I also am optimistic about Tesla. It is either EVs or bust for them. Their $30K EV cannot come soon enough! (I don't personally want to wait that long, though.)

· Allannde (not verified) · 7 years ago

ExEV driver and EV Now, I have seen your posts on the Leaf Forum for months. You are among the better informed and most enthused potential EV owners. The level of knowledge and experience of most of the rest of the world lags far behind. I might have stayed with the Leaf if I could get more and better information, but Nissan actually told me to cancel my order if I was not enthusiastic about the car as they were building it! So I did.

It is hard for me to imagine that many people will have a desire to fast charge any EV very often. It seems much more likely that fast charging will be a rare thing. I have experienced people doing something rarely which destroyed their batteries. This act was running them down completely to see what would happen. It made me cautious. I don't find that to be a bad thing. When it is clear that caution is not need for fast charging, I will use it, but I can live without it.

There is a lot at stake with EV batteries.

· EVDRIVER (not verified) · 7 years ago

Having 6.6kw charging over L3 is a better option for most experienced EV owners. When charging is free with parking you get 2x, you can use super off peak at home, do more opportunity charging, take longer day trips to visit friends with 220 outlets, etc, etc There will be few L3 stations and many will be very costly to use, likely more than gas. I have about 100K EV mies logged on three EVs in the bay area and tried every charge method and find 6.6-7.2kw a sweet spot. 3.3kw is restrictive for many but will work for others. Watch what real world use brings to a larger user pool, I bet opinions will shift and few will use L3 for a variety of reasons and more L3 aspirations will turn to 6.6kw envy. I have a LEAF order but regret their change in decision to go 3.3, that should likely change just watch.

· · 7 years ago

@Nick Chambers : I've not seen real Focus EV dash - neither has anyone else here (right ?). We all know on paper everything looks better than in real life. For eg., one thing people crib about Leaf is that the range shown isn't too indicative and changes too much. We don't know how Focus EV behaves in this regard.

Besides, I doubt anyone is going to be swayed by a slightly better display - considering other things like trunk space or weight distribution problems (all because of conversion).

BTW, do we know what display Ford will use in Energi ?

· JP (not verified) · 7 years ago

For me it is all about pricing. I would not pay for the higher trim level and fast charge port. Hopefully this is Ford's intent to keep the Focus EV sticker price as low as possible.

· · 7 years ago

We're not talking about home-built EVs with cheap PbA batteries thrown into the trunk without a further thought here. With fast charging, the batteries are going to need some sort of provision for battery cooling, automatic charge stoppage when full, and cell leveling. This is something we'll expect from well engineered battery packs.
@Christof Dement,
Dude, you've got to get out more. Spending your whole life within 30 miles of home has kept you stifled. There's a whole world out there that you're missing if you're limited to where 6.6 kW can get you in a day.
I don't know what your life is like but, I do often charge at only 3.3 kW (15 Amps at 240 volts) since that's all my garage wiring can handle. If I have a long day and arrive at home after 10:00 pm after driving 100 miles or more, my car is not fully charged by 6:00 am the next morning.
IMO, 3.3 kW is the minimum tolerable Level 2 rate for an EV for the mass market. 6.6 kW is the minimum reasonable. Going to higher rates, such as 9.6 kW (RV park 50-Amp) or even better, Tesla's 17 kW is necessary for smart grid charging to do any good since it is fast enough to allow the power companies to do the EV charging when they need it instead of all EVs having to charge the whole time that they are available. Note that if the grid wants it, a 17 kW capable charge can be dialed down for slower if that's what the grid needs or can support at any time or place.

· Gep (not verified) · 7 years ago

So in the Ford promotional video showing the car pull up to a charging station - that is only going to be a 240v charge that takes 3 hrs? Is there an intermediate type of charging station that the Focus can use that is between the fast DC charge of 30 minutes and the home charge @ 240v of 3 hrs?

If the public stations take 3 hrs, that could be quite a long wait line if there are more cars than chargers.

I was hoping to be able to make it to the mountains from Seattle and then back...

· · 7 years ago

Gep, there's nothing currently available between DC fast charging and 240V Level 2 charging. If you live in Seattle, you will definitely want a vehicle that supports DC fast charging as our state is fully supporting them with an incredible network of DC fast chargers. In fact, if you have an EV in the Northwest with DC fast charging you'd be able to make it all the way down to Portland and all the way out to Wenatchee. Hands down the Focus is the loser up here.

· · 7 years ago

Wow. I wanted to comment many times, but now after reading the whole thread, I'm too tired!

An excellent point was already made about comparing the *existing* Leaf display to the *future* Focus display. Who's to say what the second gen's Leaf display will be when the Focus is finally in the show rooms? Or are we actually expecting the Focus to be the first EV in history to be released on time?? Realistic comparisons only get to be made when the rubber hits the pavement. If we get to compare reality with fantasy, then we'd all be driving those perfect, cheap, durable fuel cell cars that run on free, 100% renewable power.... that don't exist!

· · 7 years ago

I was very worried about the resell value of my leaf with the 3K charger but hearing from Nick that the thinks there might be an upgrade path makes me feel better. I am definitely canceling my order but if the other 19999 people on the waiting list could I would be much obliged.

· · 7 years ago

@dutch: Did you mean "definitely NOT canceling"? My LEAF order date is today, and in light of this bad news re. the Focus EV, I'm thinking of keeping our options open in hopes of someone installing one or more fast chargers where we'd need them to make the LEAF practical for us. Anything can happen in the next few months.

· · 7 years ago

Other things being relatively equal, I would take a 6.6kW car that doesn't fast charge over a 3.3kW one that does any day. The value is not at home- as others have pointed out, 3.3kW- or even 120v- makes an overnight charge for average drivers completely doable (though 120v in extreme temps becomes tougher for some.) The value of 6.6kW- accurately described as the "sweet spot"- is in public. Given how public charging is used, there's a definite value in getting ~25 miles/charging hour back vs only ~12.

Part of the issue is siting the right speed of charging in the right places- if people are commonly having the experience of waiting around for a charge, we've not planned this well enough. True quick charge is best along roadways to enable the occasional slightly longer trip. But still, we're talking something that will likely be used a few times a year by most drivers. It's the 5% experience vs the day-to-day experience in terms of which is of more value.

Of course in a few years, consumers may not have to make the choice at all as I see the 3.3kW cars all upgrading to 6.6kW. But in the meantime, I really don't see this as a deal-breaker for Ford.

Finally, I would disagree strongly that Tesla-speed charging is the minimum for utility control. I understand that many Tesla drivers have become accustomed to it and now feel entitled to such speeds, but I've not met a utility person yet who's comfortable with it on a widespread basis, let alone sees an advantage. Getting some of them to 6.6kW comfort level has been an issue, though most are coming around.

· · 7 years ago

The problem I've with Ford not supporting CHADEMO QC - is that it splits the industry. Though it is much better than having a totally different fast charge plug. If all the EVs coming out supported QC, it will help QC infrastructure development.

· · 7 years ago

Agreed, EVNow. I'd understand a little if there was some compelling reason why ChaDeMo wasn't a good standard- or if those behind SAE had specific ideas on why something else would be better. I've asked around and not gotten any of that definitive information. Seems to be more of an issue of it not having gone through the process, been blessed by other words, more ego than anything.

However, I'm not sure it'll matter. If Nissan and Mits get chargers out there (within reason- too many of any chargers is a bad idea, much as we're heading that way), they'll have first mover advantage on their standard. It'll be harder for the others to convince everyone to go another direction, unless there's the compelling info mentioned above- and Ford, et al want to pay to install their own quick chargers.

· Allannde (not verified) · 7 years ago

Fast or slow charging, I have a hard time imagining how this is going to work when there are more than a few EVs out there. If I show up at a charging station and there are three EVs waiting their turn for a "drink" of electrons, I will stay in line only if I must. It may be a long wait just to get to the plug.

My plan for the foreseeable future is to depend upon home charging almost entirely.

The "sweet spot" of just enough charging stations to meet the need but not too many or not enough with a growing market for EVs seems like a very hard target to hit. I fully expect that EV drivers will be strongly encouraged to take as little charge as necessary to get home and make room for the next person, but without attendants at every charging station, the ethics of this will be hard to enforce.

Perhaps it will be necessary to schedule such field charging.

· · 7 years ago

@Allannde (not verified) · The telematics should help there. You would know before going to a QC whether it is occipied or open. We may get apps to "reserve" one - or even figure out when the charging will get completed and QC available for us.

Since QCs (and even L2s) are networked, it is not a big problem.

· · 7 years ago

@Chelsea Sexton and EVNow,
The big problem with ChAdeMO that I know if is that it can't provide more than about 50 kW. While to current RAV4EV or Leaf owners who are used to 6.6 and 3.3 kW respectively, this may seem like a huge amount, it is still only about 160 mph of charging speed or 1/2 hour per 80 miles. Waiting 1/2 hours to charge for every hour of driving is going to increase any trip time by about 50%. Clearly, this won't allow EVs to replace gasoline for long trips.
Tesla is looking to provide the ability to charge their 300 mile Model S in 45 minutes or about 320 mph. This amounts to taking 45 minutes to charge after driving for about 3.5 hours. Not unreasonable for most people's stretch breaks. This could replace gasoline for long trips with minimal impact to one's driving time. CHAdeMO can't handle this so do we want to standardize on it and it alone? Tesla probably won't adopt that standard exclusively.

· · 7 years ago

I think you're being negative here. I often have to wait in line for gas at roadside gas stations on busy holiday weekends. This is especially bad when there is a motorcycle rally somewhere and every motorcycle with around 150 miles of range, has to stop at nearly every gas stop to fill up.
EV charging won't be much worse than that and if it is, that will only justify putting in more chargers - something relatively cheap and easy to do compared with adding gas pumps.

· · 7 years ago

@Ex-EV1 Driver

Not sure Tesla should be the benchmark either. I get that they may want to charge the 300-mile version of the Model S, but the reality is that given the comfort level of most battery companies and OEMs with frequent fast charging at current that high, we're not gonna see many of them embrace anything faster than 50kW for a while. And while it's gravy if they can, EVs don't need to replace gas cars for long trips for some time. I'm not suggesting we don't aim at that- but let's not hold up deployment of a technology that works for what we need it to do and several companies are already bought into today over what Tesla alone wants to do tomorrow. Elon's been saying for a while that he has no intention of using the J1772 standard either because "Tesla is the standard" (though I don't see him getting away with keeping Model S incompatible). Plus, I guarantee that GM and Ford, who are the main opponents of CHAdeMO along with SAE itself, aren't arguing against it because it's not fast enough. So the Tesla bit is interesting, but not what's going on here.

I'm also curious to know whether, just because it doesn't today accommodate faster than 50kW, it can't ever do that. Could also end up that we have "Level 3 vs 3+" for a while, and that companies pick which fast charging speed to make compatible with their cars just as not all are including fast charging today. If 3+ proves to be useful and not totally freak out the utilities, it'll end up dominating in future generations, and CHAdeMo will be phased out- but which time it'll be out of warranty anyway.

· Allannde (not verified) · 7 years ago

ex ev driver - I see my observations as setting realistic expectations not as "negative". The EV is not ready to replace the ICE car in all respects and will flop trying. It needs to establish a firm niche for itself so it can become a part of the "scenery" first.

There are three differences between your experience waiting for gasoline and EV charging. EVs need more time, EV charging stations usually will not have attendants and EV charging stations are not proposed to be profit making (which carries a whole set of motives for making it work). In addition, the EV user is not usually the provider of public EV charging stations and so the EV user convenience is not the first consideration.

I agree with Chesea that the thing to do now is get on with the EVs as we see them coming and worry about trying to be a replacement for the ICE car later. It is going to be necessary for the infrastructure that is on the horizon to mature first and it will not be a smooth process, unfortunately.

This very controversy over fast charging is evidence enough that time must pass and the disorderly process of "king of the mountain" must transpire to its conclusion first. Those who can get by with non public charging will be more satisfied for the foreseeable future.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

Once again I believe that the issue of fast charging when dealing with a car with realistically, far less than 100 miles of range, is a red herring. While that really, really fast DC charging of the Leaf may sound great, in practice it still won't permit trips of any length. The problem with these cars is NOT whether they support fast recharging, since that would only be available along
highways used for trips. Which these cars cannot take. So the discussion here has a distinctly
Alice in Wonderland quality. How many chips could a woodchuck chuck if a ...

· Ray (not verified) · 7 years ago

Is fast charging shorting the batterys life than normal charging?

· · 7 years ago

> Ford has always been strange about their chargers. Look at the Ford Ranger EV. It had the AVCON conductive charger which was also incapable of Quick Charging, unlike the Magne-Charger for the EV1 and RAV4 EV. <
Not sure I understand. Having "owned" A Ford Ranger with Avcon, an EV1 with a LPI Magne-Charger, and currently driving a Rav4EV with an SPI Magne-charger... they all charge at roughly the same rate. There was never a Quick Charge option for the EV1 or the Rav4EV. They all charged at 240V and about 30A.

· · 7 years ago

I recently spent a bit of time creating an executive summary on where charging "standards" stand right now. Thought I'd share it here to add to the discussion.

Here are the definitions that seem to be settled:
AC Level 1 Charging
- 120V AC charging from standard 15 or 20 amp NEMA outlet, on-board vehicle charger
- 12 and 16A current configuration (1.44 and 1.92kw) AC Level 2 Charging
- 208 - 240 AC charging up to 80 amps, on-board vehicle charger (Up to 19.2kw)
DC Quick Charging (pretty wide open for a "standard")
- Off-board charger connects directly to vehicle high voltage battery bus
- Charger controlled by vehicle which allows for extremely high power transfer (>100kw)
- Actual charge rate limited by battery chemistry, infrastructure and other factors

And then a bunch that is not settled:

AC L3: TBD (single or three phase?)
DC L1: 200-450V DC (up to 80A and 19.2kW) DC L2: 200-450V DC (up to 200A and 90kW) DC L3: TBD (200-600V DC? Up to 400A? Up to 240kW?)

Note that what we call "L1 and L2" today are of course AC L1 and AC L2 officially. If we end up with DC level standards, you can see how the confusion will just become compounded. And you can see how calling anything L3 today (as many still do) will just confuse the issue when we have both AC and DC L3 standards eventually.

It would appear that the Tesla Model S is going to throw yet another wrench into the works with their own fast-charge configuration (like they had to do with the Roadster). One of the problems with being ahead of the curve!

· Kirk G (not verified) · 7 years ago

Great read,
I still prefer the Focus EV over the leaf.. I am sorry but I don't plan on long drives with my future EV so DC charging is not a deal breaker for me. Plus the Focus is a much more attractive car IMHO

· · 7 years ago

There are trade-offs with DC fast charging. First and foremost, is what it does to battery life, and considering the price of batteries, it's not something to take lightly. Second, the standards for fast charging have not been finalized for the U.S.

· · 7 years ago


"The fact that the SAE is dragging its heels on the DC fast charging topic is what drove everybody else to go with CHAdeMO in the first place. In the end SAE will likely be forced to adopt CHAdeMO anyways and it seems that a company like Ford is shooting itself in the foot by not supporting it from the get go. "

I'd love to hear where you got this idea. What source was this from? This is not a "fact" at all.

SAE is developing their own standard. They have not been "forced to use CHAdeMO". The new standard is due out in July. They haven't been "dragging their feet". It's been in development for a year and half now. It has to be done right. Good engineering takes time. Failure is not an option.

· · 7 years ago


While I won't name names of people that provided me information in confidence over the half dozen or so conversations I've had with folks both within SAE and among OEMs, I can tell you that everything I said is accurate based on their descriptions.

SAE took 2 years to finalize the Level 2 J1772 standard and it was a battle. The process for finalizing the hybrid J1772/DC standard started in January of last year. Given that there are competing standards for DC fast charging (CHAdeMO, RWE, SAE) and different automakers are stumping for each kind, that standard will likely take more than 2 years to develop. It is most certainly not "due out in July."

Each manufacturer has its own reasons for supporting the different standards, but the companies that are launching EVs now had to go with what already existed and could be UL listed: CHAdeMO. SAE is dragging its feet because of infighting among the Japanese, American and European carmakers who are well represented on the committees that oversee these standards.

I didn't say SAE was already forced to use CHAdeMO, I said they will likely be forced to use it b/c by the time the get around to finalizing the hybrid J1772 standard there will likely be 100K+ EVs on the road that have the CHAdeMO connector.

You don't need to take the condescending route and point out to me that "good engineering takes time" or "failure is not an option" or call me out on not representing "facts." You may have one tale of it that's basically what SAE says through their marketing and PR filter, but the real story is that each automaker sees a way to gain a competitive advantage by stumping for their pet standard based on their individual product strategies.

· · 7 years ago

> real story is that each automaker sees a way to gain a competitive advantage by stumping for their pet standard based on their individual product strategies.<

And this is why I replied to Michael the way I did the last time he made the same statements about engineering and how long it takes to do right, and that failure is not an option. Hell, the engineering is done. We're talking about a J1772 with larger conductors. We aren't going to the moon here! What remains at this stage is not detailed engineering - it is nothing but political arguing. Who gets what part of the pie.

· · 7 years ago


I don't know if you have seen how standards committees work, but there is ALWAYS infighting. That's the point of a committee. You hope in the end, the best standard comes out victorious.

The time table was set almost two years ago. Unless, they are not meeting their deadline, I don't see how you can say, they are "dragging their feet", It just comes across very condescending. It's so easy to criticize others, when you are not doing the work.

Did your "insiders" give recent evidence they are considering trashing the entire standard, and adopting CHAdeMO?

I feel I have to make the point that "good engineering takes time", because it does not appear that anyone here has done any engineering. They sure are quick to criticize, though.

Daryll is telling everyone you just put on bigger conductors. C'mon, Daryll. What about all the safety, environmental, usability, and durability considerations? And how big?

I don't know about you guys, but if I am going to handle a 600 volt, 200 amp cable/connector in the rain, I want this really well thought out and tested.

· · 7 years ago


I find it funny that you are pulling the "condescending" card, considering that seems to be your modus operandi, e.g. "I don't know if you have seen how standards committees work, but there is ALWAYS infighting. That's the point of a committee."

Saying they are dragging their feet is not condescending, it's reporting what I've been told in confidence. If I said, "I don't know if you know what dragging your feet means, but this committee is dragging its feet much more than any other before it—it's as slow as molasses," that would be condescending.

There are organizations on the committee, and external to the committee, who are pushing to ditch the hybrid J1772 standard and adopt CHAdeMO, yes. There are plenty of folks who frequent who are engineers or have been engineers in the past. No, I'm not an engineer, but as a journalist I speak frequently with engineers, some of whom are privy to the SAE committee work. It doesn't sound like you have that same level of access, so why do you act as if your information is better than mine? If you don't trust me, that's your prerogative. But please drop the condescending tone.

"I don't know about you guys, but if I am going to handle a 600 volt, 200 amp cable/connector in the rain, I want this really well thought out and tested."

CHAdeMO is really well thought out and tested and UL listable and it exists now.

· · 7 years ago


If you really think the term "dragging their feet" is not condescending, then try it out with your boss, or publisher, or whoever you are working for, and see what the response is. I think you will get your answer, since you don't believe me.

My performance expectations for standards committees is very low. Look how long it took IEEE to ratify 802.11n. How about WWC and HTML5? They are still working on it.

Now if SAE doesn't meet their time target, and there isn't a legitimate reason, then I promise I will come back on here and say they are "dragging their feet".

Since you have inside contacts, what I think would make an excellent article would be why CHAdoMO was not ratified by SAE, and what they expected to improve on doing their own standard. Even if it was motivated by "Not Invented Here", I'm sure there are some aspects they felt they could improve on.

· · 7 years ago

>> I feel I have to make the point that "good engineering takes time", because it does not appear that anyone here has done any engineering. They sure are quick to criticize, though. <<

This is one compelling reason why it is hard to have a discussion with you, Michael. You've said before that it is people like me who run people off for no other reason than they don't agree with me. I don't expect people to agree with me - I only expect them to have a firm grasp of reality. If it doesn't appear to you that anybody here has "done any engineering" then you have not been paying attention, or you are purposefully being ignorant. I am even going to overstep privacy bounds a bit just to let you in on a little secret before you dig your hole even deeper. There are members of this web site who are engineers sitting on the dang committee! Shhhh. I've said too much already. But really.... what they're doing is not top secret. Would you like to take a moment to reconsider your engineering position?

You are free to make assumptions and form opinions, of course. But please. PLEASE stop telling us what we know and what our credentials are. Yes, I simplified the problem to "bigger conductors." And yes it is mildly more complicated than that. But we already know the communication protocol - all we have to do is transfer gobs of electrons through a fat pipe, and make it reasonably durable. And you know what - this isn't the first time in the world this process has been needed and used. We are not inventing the wheel, and we are not going to the moon. You really think this is so complicated now that we have real world experience with CHAdeMO?

Gaaah. I get frustrated and start to ramble...

Car makers are chomping at the bit for this standard. The customers are being screwed while we wait for this standard. You claim that feet aren't being dragged...that there's nothing holding up the standard beyond real hard-core engineering. And I call BS.

We have something that works now. We needed it a couple of years ago. We still have no standard.

· · 7 years ago


I see A LOT criticism on this site, but little information to back it up. When I call people on it, they don't provide any information. They just throw insults, and make personal attacks, because I'm not following along in lockstep with BEV tribe on this site.

If you've got the credentials you claim, then let's see it in the articles and followup posts. If you have a criticism of the way things are done in the EV world, then substantiate it. Otherwise, it's just complaining.

If SAE is dragging their feet, then give some evidence to support it, such as they are 50% behind their time line, or they missed this target date. Something! Anything!

Just because someone posts something on a website doesn't give it credence.

"You claim that feet aren't being dragged...that there's nothing holding up the standard beyond real hard-core engineering"

I never said this. In fact, I don't even know that it is held up. It's not due until July.

"And I call BS."

Rather than calling BS, just tell us where they are with the standard.

Also, so far no one has even elaborated on what the goals of the new standard are.

Second, why are the automakers waiting for it, rather than using CHAdoMO? What limitations in CHAdoMO does SAE see that they want to overcome? UL approved CHAdoMO, so that's not the problem. Is it going to cost less? Is it more durable?

I'm looking for answers.

· · 7 years ago


"If you really think the term "dragging their feet" is not condescending, then try it out with your boss, or publisher, or whoever you are working for, and see what the response is. I think you will get your answer, since you don't believe me."

The term is perhaps harsh, or even mean, depending on your sensitivity level—but condescending, no. Yet once again you have played your own condescending card by implying that I'd be stupid enough to say that to a boss unless I had good reason. Kudos.

"what I think would make an excellent article would be why CHAdoMO was not ratified by SAE, and what they expected to improve on doing their own standard. Even if it was motivated by "Not Invented Here", I'm sure there are some aspects they felt they could improve on."

Reasons are simple: American companies see a competitive advantage in making the Japanese companies have to switch standards and American companies don't lose anything b/c they won't support DC fast charging standard until SAE approves something.

· · 7 years ago

> because I'm not following along in lockstep with BEV tribe on this site

Naah. You're really missing the point here. Folks here aren't getting upset with you because you aren't in lockstep with them. They're getting upset with you because... well, because you make disparaging comments that come from a background of ignorance of the subject matter. When you begin a comment thread with an insult - I'll give you an example of your "whiner" comment again - things usually don't get better as they progress. I know you've said that you had nobody in mind for that comment (and I believe you) - but understand that the people you are describing are me. And ex-EV1 driver... and others. You don't need to name us directly for the insult to be aimed at us. Beginning a conversation that way just puts people on the defensive. Pretending that you are being attacked because you aren't drinking the BEV cool-aide is a cop-out. Take some credit for being offensive, and we may yet get somewhere.

> If SAE is dragging their feet, then give some evidence to support it

Easy. Car companies have created entire automobiles that include a UL-approved fast-charge connector... yet SAE hasn't managed to provide a standard in the time that it took to develop, test and market these entire cars. Gosh, I guess SAE just didn't see this coming? Or the connector is just much harder to engineer than an entire automobile.

> Second, why are the automakers waiting for it, rather than using CHAdoMO?

Because when the standard eventually does come out - and it is different than CHAdeMO, the included, costly inlet will be almost worthless going forward. Much like for the Tesla owners now that the Tesla EVSEs are being converted to J1772. It sucks to have a car with this great fast-charge feature that you can't use... or requires a big, expensive adapter.

> What limitations in CHAdoMO does SAE see that they want to overcome?

You are actually the only one I hear considering that SAE is trying to overcome a limitation of CHAdeMO. I have been saying that the only hold-up is the time it is taking to try and figure out which stakeholders to appease. Though you claim to be looking for answers, you don't seem to like them when they're provided. You'll have to do your own research, I guess. Mine and Nick's and others doesn't seem to be working out for you.

> Just because someone posts something on a website doesn't give it credence.

Gosh thanks for not being condescending again. Do you have a mirror? Some introspection is really in order. Have I ever - anywhere on this forum - regurgitated something I've read off a website? (reading it off mine doesn't count!). Though I sometimes fail, I try to only discuss topics that I know something about. You, on the other hand, seem to enjoy discussing topics like EV ownership and leasing - something that obviously you have no experience with beyond what you've read or heard about. Do you see the pot calling the kettle black here at all?

And with great hesitation, I click the submit button.

· · 7 years ago


"Yet once again you have played your own condescending card by implying that I'd be stupid enough to say that to a boss unless I had good reason. Kudos."

I am not playing any card. I was hoping you might realize that "dragging your feet" really is not a nice thing to say, and it might be more apparent if framed differently. I obviously failed, and I give up.

"Reasons are simple: American companies see a competitive advantage in making the Japanese companies have to switch standards and American companies don't lose anything b/c they won't support DC fast charging standard until SAE approves something."

I would put that in the "Not Invented Here" category. However, if they are going to come up with their own spec, I would presume they would make some improvements at the same time, which I would like to know about, along with my other questions above.

Maybe I'll just have to give them a call myself, although Daryll says there are people here on the committee.

Anyone want to chime in?

· · 7 years ago

@ Michael -

I see you've made it a point in another thread to correct the slight mistake in the spelling of your name. May I respectfully point out that you've gotten my name incorrect every time so far? My spelling is terrible, so I usually just let it slide for others - but name spelling seems important to you.

Two things for the sake of correctness:



· · 7 years ago


I got thrown off by your login name, and, unfortunately, the spell checker here liked your name in all the combinations I gave it. I also need to stop cutting and pasting that DC fast charging standard from whatever post I got that from.

Thank you for correcting me.

Also, I still hoping some people from the J1772 committee (much easier than CHAdeMO) can chime in here with more info on what they are working on for DC fast charging.

· Margaret WIlkie (not verified) · 7 years ago

If you want to add renewable energy to your home charging array, DC is the easiest and least wasteful way to go.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 6 years ago

I'm a happy owner of both a Chevy Volt and a Tesla Roadster, using an un-Tesla-like 7.2 kw generic level II charger, which I also use for the 3.3 KW volt. (Tesla told me I'm the first person they know that doesn't use Tesla's proprietary charger, but I'm using an adapter cord).

I agree with the other posters that Level II will be good enough (7.2kw) for the vast majority of people. Why is no one mentioning the L3 charging rates shorten battery life? Also, at some point in time, as electric cars become more common, I would expect electric utilities to limit the consumption rate to 7.2 kw anyway so as to fully utilize their existing facilities and avoid any needless costly build-out.

As far as the 3.3 to 6.6 kw debate between the Leaf and Focus, I have to smile. If I absolutely had to, I could get by with just the Level I charging (120 v @ 12 amps) standard on both models. I bought the Level II charger mostly for the novelty of much faster charging, but in truth, I really don't absolutely have to have it.

· · 6 years ago

"If I absolutely had to, I could get by with just the Level I charging (120 v @ 12 amps) standard on both models."

If I absolutely had to I could ride a bicycle to work every day (32mi each way), but that doesn't make it the best way for me to commute. I don't doubt what you're saying, you must just not need to drive far that often. You wouldn't even be able to use half of your roadsters range every day because it would take you 2 days to fully recharge it at 120 v 12 amps.

I'm on the other side of the argument. For the past two and a half years, I've been charging my MINI-E 208v, 50 amps @ 11.5 kWh and now that I'm returning it and getting an ActiveE, the car is limited to charging @ 32 amps 7.7kWh and I'm already getting anxious about "slow charging". I'm so used to getting 35-40 miles of range every hour that the 25 mi per hour of charging is disappointing.

If I had to charge even @ 3.3kWh all the time(let alone 120v 12amps) I'm afraid I wouldn't be using my EV as my daily driver; it would be so inconvenient I just couldn't live with it. In my household and I'm sure others it would certainly regulate the household EV to the secondary car that drives much less miles than the primary car, is that what we want?

I'm sure there are people that agree with you and can live fine with slow charging, but there are also definitely people like me that wouldn't or couldn't live with and EV that needed so long to recharge. Heck, there are folks out there that say they won't buy one until it can charge as fast as a car gasses up, try telling them they need 24 hours to recharge! Slower charging means slower EV adoption.

· · 6 years ago

@Bill Howland,
I'm going to cut to the chase: You're WRONG on most counts. Please quit sowing such nonesense.
1) "I'm the first person they know that doesn't use Tesla's proprietary charger" I used a non-Tesla EVSE to charge my Roadster from a NEMA 14-30 240 volt outlet almost 3 years ago so I doubt you were the first. I'm not either but I know who was.
2) "Level II will be good enough (7.2kw) for the vast majority" For your life, perhaps 7.7 or 3.3 kW suffices, however, this is not the case for everyone, especially those who burn the most gasoline. Moving the "little old lady who only drives her car to church on Sunday's" from a gas burner to an Electric isn't going to save the planet or really help anything. Moving the person with a 60 mile round-trip daily commute that drives 20,000 miles per year over is going to save a whole lot.
3) "L3 charging rates shorten battery life" Where do you get this idea? This is only true if the battery hasn't been designed for L3 charging. As long as the battery can be kept cool enough, the battery chemistry supports it, and charging can be stopped reliably before any cell gets overcharged, there will be no battery degradation caused by L3 charging.
4) "I would expect electric utilities to limit . . ." Limiting charging to 7.2 kW would probably be the dumbest thing a utility could possibly do! Faster charging will allow the utilities to charge EVs when it is most convenient for them. Slow charging leaves less flexibility in when to charge. For example, with my Leaf (that I'm commuting in now), I'm limited to 3.3 kW charging at work and I temporarily only have 120v/15 amp charging at home. Going to regular doctors and PT appointments these days means I drive about 100 miles per day. This means my car must be charging 100% of the time when I'm not driving. There is no latitude to adjust my charging to times that are convenient to the power company. While I'm extreme, I would hope it illustrates the point.
5) " . . . needless costly buildout" What are you referring to? Why don't you just go live in a cave so that nobody has to NEEDLESSLY build out anything to support your life. I have no problems paying for my needs if required. If you really look at it intelligently, installing fast EV charging (as an option) will actually enable the electric companies to transition from coal, gas, and nuclear towards renewables since EV charging can absorb the peaks and valleys of supply that typify renewable energy sources. If we're mandating things: The utilities should mandate fast EV charging that can be dialed in depending on grid resources available to ensure that all EVs are charged by the time they are needed or quickly if our plans change unexpectedly. It will actually save money and our planet in the long run. I certainly hope that the utilities aren't as dumb as you suggest and limit charging speeds. I do, sadly, agree with you though; they do appear to be as dumb and domineering as you and probably will do as you stupidly advise. This is why I haven't signed up on an EV rate plan and ignore all of their attempts to get into my business by sending me EV surveys.

While you're looking for novelty transportation toys to play with, why not get a pony and a sailboat to tool around in but please quit trying to mandate slowing down those of us who really have places we need to go but want to do so in a clean, sustainable manner.

Note: You crossed the line when you suggested that I be forced to do something your stupid, ignorant way so I'm not being nice in my reply. You're welcome to be as stupid as you like but please quit advocating FORCING the rest of us to live in the naive way that you seem to want.

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