Charging protocols and standards are fuelling an ever evolving debate in the electric vehicle industry. Some are calling for a global standard, while others are just fine with multiple infrastructure efforts using different adapters. Where does Tesla fit in this debate? The company has been developing its own charging infrastructure called “Superchargers“, while offering a range of adapters to let Tesla owners use other charging networks.
After the publication of a new patent application today, we learn that Tesla is working on an inter-protocol charging adapter capable of supporting both CHAdeMO and SAE J1772. Based on its open-source patent pledge made last year, the company applies for patents only to protect itself against potential attempts at blocking its technology, while promising not to sue anyone using its patented electric vehicle technology in good faith.
In its application, Tesla describes its inter-protocol charging adapter:
An inter-protocol charging adapter for equipment to be charged via a bus includes: first connectors corresponding to a first charging protocol that requires the bus to be energized before the equipment closes onto the bus; second connectors corresponding to a second charging protocol that does not energize the bus before the equipment closes onto the bus; and a boost converter coupled to the bus and to at least one of the second connectors, wherein the boost converter uses energy from the second connector to energize the bus before the equipment closes onto the bus.
The company included a few schematics with its patent application:
As the inventors describes in the application, much like Tesla’s own protocol, the SAE J1772 standard specifies that the bus must be energized by the time the contactors close onto the bus. While on the other hand, CHAdeMO expects the bus to be non-energized.
Tesla’s adapter would be able to support both standard and trigger a “boost converter” to energize the bus.
You can see the full patent application here.
Photos of the different connector standards:
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been vocal about wanting to let other automakers use Tesla’s network of fast-charging stations. He said in a recent meeting in Paris:
“We want to do anything we can to help the advent of sustainable transport – so our network is open to any other manufacturer that want to use it. “
He also said that the company plans to add the European standard plug at its Supercharger stations in Europe so that other electric manufacturers will be able to offer access without having to use a Tesla adapter.
Last year, Musk confirmed that Tesla was in talks with “some [auto] manufacturers” to share the Supercharger network, but without specifying which automakers.
Featured image: Tesla’s $450 CHAdeMO adapter
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In Europa tesla already uses the Standard connector. This is a mannekens with out the additional pins.
This is required by European law and makes elon a bit piissed because the Tesla adapter can carry more power then the default European adapter can.
It is not required by law. Nissan and Kia does not use it either. They have Type 1 (J1772) and CHAdeMO.
The Combo2 (which is incorrectly referred to as Type2 and also standard in Europe) is capable of delivering 150 kW power, and they are working on the 350 kW standard (with the same plug type). But it’s to big to hide behind Tesla’s small charge port. 🙂
Combo is currently rated only for 50kW, but in theory can handle more for sure.
My bad, you’re true! Currently it’s 50 kW. The 150 kW version was only shown but hasn’t been standardized yet.
150kW is misleading as right now that requires 750+ volts which no cars on the road support. All cars now are 400V or less and it makes little sense to double the voltage due to dangers/precautions involved.
As far I know, Supercharger maximum power in USA is 120KW, but Supercharger maximum power in Europe is 135KW… the european connector allows for higher power (more than 10% extra) so you are wrong.
Should Tesla just make a probe of installing Super duper charger based on per-pay-use platform in city centers, e.g. Frankfurt Hamburg Essen, Paris Lyon Bordeaux Lyon, Vienna, Milan Verona etc., only then we would be able to see real Tesla demand in Europe. Substitute chargers won’t make satisfactory result.
Correction for plug types:
In the center picture the right one what you referred to as “Mennekes without optional pins” is the Type2 (they’re basically the same thing). The left one is the Combo2 what is a Type2 with DC fast charge (additional pins). Fundamentally it’s the same as Combo what is a J1772 (Type1) with the same DC fast charge capability.
IMO you are misreading and misunderstanding that patent.
It’s from 2013 and it’s describing the CHAdeMO adaptor, which they have since built and released. The fact it references SAE J1772 DC is simply because they are trying to write the patent in the most general terms possible, for obvious reasons.
The patent is specifically about a piece of functionality that would *not* be needed to build a Tesla-CCS adaptor (since both Tesla and CCS expect the HV bus to be energised before contactor close, unlike CHAdeMO).