Technology: danger for the CCS plug from the USA: new fight at the charging station

A few years ago, when the electric car was still in its infancy, there was a short but fierce battle for the right charging adapter.

Technology: danger for the CCS plug from the USA: new fight at the charging station

A few years ago, when the electric car was still in its infancy, there was a short but fierce battle for the right charging adapter. For the normal charging of the electric vehicle, the so-called Mennekes Type 2 plug finally prevailed, with which most charging stations can now be refueled and with which the home wall box is also equipped. Modern charging stations with a roll-up function have this type 2 plug already integrated with a roll-up function, so the driver of the electric vehicle does not even have to pull his own cable out of the frunk or the trunk.

However, if you are traveling long distances, you will not be able to do much with the Mennekes type 2 plug, because the charging speed here is more like a snail than a cheetah. If you want to charge quickly, you can't avoid the CCS connector (Combined Charging System), which does not have to be carried with you, but because of its weight and the corresponding insulation it is attached directly to the fast or hyper charger and is only plugged in. Structurally, the CCS plug is a type 2 extension with two additional poles that ensure the right charging speed. The Chademo plug, which has been advocated by many for a long time and has its technical origins in Japan, seems to have fallen by the wayside. The strange word creation Chademo stands for "Charge de Move" and in most cases can only realize a charging speed of up to 50 kilowatts. CEE and Schuko plugs are of no significant importance when recharging your own electric vehicle, but they can only be recharged with 2.3 to 3.7 kilowatts.

But the race for charging plugs is surprisingly moving again, because more and more brands are siding with Tesla and the NASC plug. One reason is the large US market, where charging providers such as Electrify America or EV Go are well behind the charging infrastructure of the Musk company in many regions. This had started early with its superchargers and in particular provided them with numerous charging points at each station. Anyone who has ever been to shopping centers and charging parks in the large US metropolitan areas at the weekend or in the evening hours knows the endless queues in front of the charging points very well. In addition, there is often a problem with the charging speed, because only 100 or 150 kilowatts are provided, with a high failure rate annoying many drivers of electric vehicles.

Elon Musk recognized the opportunity and has now opened up his hyperchargers with charging speeds of up to 250 kilowatts, which were formerly only intended for Tesla models, to more and more brands. This applies not only to the USA, but also to Europe, for example. More and more other makes can therefore be seen on numerous Tesla Superchargers, which recharge their batteries here. They are also significantly more expensive even as an external brand than at charging stations from Fastned, EnBW or Ionity. While prices here have often risen painfully recently, Tesla has significantly reduced its charging prices to less than 0.50 euros / kWh, depending on the time. Volvo has now announced that its customers will now have access to 12,000 Tesla superchargers in the USA, Canada and Mexico. As part of this agreement, future Volvo vehicles in the region will be equipped with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) from 2025, which Tesla also relies on. "On our journey to becoming fully electric by 2030, we want to make living with an electric car as easy as possible," emphasizes Volvo CEO Jim Rowan, "a key obstacle for more people to switch to electric driving - an important step to make transport more sustainable - is access to a simple and convenient charging infrastructure."

Volvo drivers of models such as the XC40 / C40 Recharge or the recently introduced EX30 and EX90 models do not even have to register as a third-party factory in the Tesla app, as was previously the case. The Tesla Superchargers will be integrated into the Volvo app and the navigation system and can be used with an adapter from the first half of 2024. Anyone who is still equipped with the CCS plug with their NACS charging connection and would like to continue charging in the Combined Charging System can continue to do so with an adapter.

Volvo is not the only manufacturer to side with Tesla, as Ford and General Motor recently also opted for Tesla technology. Both brands, which also largely rely on electric models, are switching to Tesla's charging plug. From 2024, anyone driving a Ford F-150 Lightning or a Chevrolet Bolt will be able to refuel at the Tesla Superchargers, just like Volvo customers. “We've spent the last decade building an industry-leading charging network that gives our Tesla owners the freedom to travel and the confidence to charge,” said Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla's senior director of charging infrastructure We look forward to fulfilling our mission to accelerate the world's sustainable energy transition by welcoming Ford owners and other EV adopters who are adopting NACS to our thousands of Superchargers across North America."

If you are traveling with an older model, you can use the so-called Magic Dock, which converts the normal CCS connector to the smaller Tesla module. That was it for General Motors and its various brands such as Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick or GMC for the previous CCS connector. The Detroit automaker follows Ford and its Dearborn-based Ford Model E electronics division. Marin Gjaja, responsible for electric customers at Ford: “The Tesla Supercharger network is very reliable and the NACS connector is smaller and lighter. Overall, this offers a better experience for customers.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not enough, because he is currently courting the next major corporations Stellantis (including Jeep, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Opel, Peugeot, DS, Citroen) and Toyota , both of which have not yet decided on a plug. This puts particular pressure on German manufacturers and corporate brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Skoda, Mini and Porsche, all of whom have so far relied on the CCS plug, which is now coming under increasing pressure from the USA.