Newly emerging photographs of Electrify America’s first new site installations appear to confirm that the first non-Tesla U.S. nationwide ultra-fast highway charging network will provide only minimal support for cars like the Nissan LEAF which require CHAdeMO DC charging connectors. Tesla vehicles can also use CHAdeMO via an adapter.
The Volkswagen subsidiary’s first known completed installation, at the Chicopee Marketplace shopping center in Massachusetts, has 4 charging pedestals with dual cables but only 1 of the 8 cables has a CHAdeMO connector and it is initially supporting only a software-limited charging rate of 50 kW (100 kW later). The other connectors support either 150 kW or 350 kW using the CCS connectors supported by most other car makers competing in the U.S.
A note on the PlugShare entry for the new site says 4 of the cables are marked as supporting up to 350 kW CCS with another 3 marked for 150 kW CCS and a final CHAdeMO 50 kW cable. Based on that description and other photographs, it appears that two pedestals have a pair of cables marked for 350 kW, one pedestal has a pair of cables marked for 150 kW, and one pedestal has mixed cables with a CHAdeMO 50 kW plug and a 150 kW CCS plug.
The electrical charging equipment cabinets nearby include empty concrete pad spaces with pre-installed wiring conduit to enable future expansion.
A press release from Electrify America had announced a “first charging” event at the Chicopee location on April 25 but that was reportedly being rescheduled.
A note from a PlugShare user says that a call placed to an Electrify America support phone number resulted in an automated message saying that the chargers would be available for use on May 1. No pricing information is available yet although a message viewable on the pedestal screens says that pricing on all connectors will initially be the same for a limited time.
Another installation in the town of Fincastle, Virginia on I-81 near Roanoke appears as if it may follow a similar pattern although a photo at PlugShare shows a clear view of the supported cables on only 2 of the pedestals.
The installations are consistent with recent Electrify America press release statements that “all charging stations will offer a CHAdeMO1 (50kW) connector, plus additional dual-handle dispensers with CCS1 (50 to 350 kW) connectors”.
The California Air Resources Board had been set to discuss a first annual report from Electrify America about its recent progress and implementation plans for the upcoming year at its April 27 public board meeting but the discussion has been removed from the agenda for unclear reasons.
So is each pedestal able to support two cars simultaneously? Or do they have two cables just to ease the reach to the car and allow flexibility to allow the car to park either direction in the stall?
I’m not sure. I’m going to ask.
That looks to me like 4 chargers, each with both a CCS and a Chademo cable.
We’re all used to seeing dual cable chargers with both a CHAdeMO and a CCS cable and plug. As the article describes, the new Electrify America locations are different. Only one of the four charging pedestals has a CHAdeMO cable and plug.
Although it wasn’t clear at the time I wrote this article, each charging pedestal can only charge one car at a time. So, the pedestals that feature two of the same type of cable, plug, and power capability (two 150 kW CCS cables, for example) are simply designed to make it easier to use with various cars that have their charging inlet in the front, on the side ahead of the driver door, near the driver side tail lights, etc.
These need to be configured like current gas stations – drive through. With charging speeds equivalent to gas/diesel tank refills the drive through configuration has proven itself as the optimal configuration.
I also suspect the reason CARB removed this from their agenda is because Electrify America is starting in the east. CARB doesn’t care so there’s no reason for them to talk about this.
Electrify America’s CCS vs Chademo policy is addressing reality – that CCS will become the defacto US standard non-Tesla DCFC charging protocol. All major US manufacturers + EU + Korean-based manufacturers and even Honda from Japan has adopted it. Collectively, these manufacturers will be rolling out 100’a of 1000’s of long-range EV’s in the next few years.
It is an extension of the SAE-J1772 AC charge connector already adopted for all non-Tesla US plug-in EV’s and is regulated by SAE International, which among other things is the major standards-making entity for international automotive and aerospace industry. Chademo may pan out in Japan, but it will be orphaned in the US and the EU.
Chademo is brand-specific to Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, and a Japanese power company. To-date, Nissan is the only Chademo-supporter that has significant skin in this game. Every other manufacturer not-named-Tesla that have announced major long-range-BEV roll-out plans are using CCS. Advantage – CCS.
There will be adapters available. The important part is to build the charger network.