Tesla Requests South Korean Government to Adopt Its Own Charging Method

Aug 31, 2017

It was found out that Tesla recently requested South Korean Government to adopt its own charging standard. Although South Korean Government immediately went into a review, it is facing significant amount of burdens as it already unified previous three charging standards that it was using. Certain electric vehicle manufacturers who are at a disadvantage from competitions due to unification of charging standards are stating that South Korean Government must not accommodate Tesla’s request due to a reason for fairness.
According to Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) on the 30th, Julian de Jonquieres, who is the head of charging APAC Tesla recently requested MOTOE’s Korea Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) to adopt ‘Combo 2’ that includes fast charging standard called ‘Type 2’ in a written form. Reason why Tesla is requesting for adoption of its standard is because Tesla’s electric vehicles that were released in South Korea this year were excluded from using public charging infrastructures as they are the only ones to stock to ‘Type 2’ charging standard. Its intention is that its customers in South Korea have the right to use public charging infrastructures that are established by South Korean Government and public companies.
Industries are showing extreme interests towards what South Korean Government is gong to do because Tesla’s request was received while KATS made a decision in April to unify standards that are actually used under single standard while maintain multiple national standards.
Charging infrastructures in South Korea are currently using European method called ‘Combo (Type 1) 1’, Japan’s ‘CHAdeMO’, and Renault’s ‘Phase 3 AC (Alternating Current)’. However South Korean Government decided to unify its chargers or chargers from Korea Environment Corporation and Korea Electric Power Corporation under ‘Combo (Type 1) 1 as there were waste of budget, increase in percentage of breakdowns, and inconveniences from consumers from applying three standards into one equipment at the same time. This news is not a positive news for Tesla’s vehicles that are using ‘Combo (Type 2) 2’.

Tesla’s charging stations called ‘Super Chargers’ that are placed in an underground parking lot of Seoul Grand Intercontinental Hotel <Tesla’s charging stations called ‘Super Chargers’ that are placed in an underground parking lot of Seoul Grand Intercontinental Hotel>

According to the materials that were submitted by Tesla to KATS, Tesla is stating that DC (Direct Current) Combo 2 (Type 2) is better than Combo 1 (Type 1) from economic feasibility and performance point of views as it supports Phase 3 AC. ‘Combo 2’ has risen as the fast charging standard in Europe and it supports faster performance as an electric vehicle can be charged up to at 22kWh when it uses AC during slow charging (7kWh). It also stated openly that its charging standard can reduce amount used for installation of charging stations as at least 60% of types of housings are using Phase 3 AC as normal power supply at apartments and others.
However this is only possible if OBC (On Board Charger), which is installed inside of an electric vehicle, has large capacity. Because electric vehicles that are released in South Korea have 16kWh OBCs, there is no practicality for Tesla’s stance. Also Tesla is giving an option to its customers in South Korea for an OBC with large capacity at $2,500.
While industries agree with advantages of Combo 2, they opposed Tesla’s stance by saying that ‘Type 2’ is not enough to break South Korean Government’s decision to unify three charging standards.
“South Korean Government has been thinking deeply about unification of standards since 2014 and came to a decision to unify them with difficulty. However if it decides to adopt Combo (Type 2) 2, which is similar to Combo (Type 1) 1, it is basically denying its own decision.” said a representative for an industry. “Because there are no electric vehicles in South Korea that adopt Tesla’s Combo 2 standard, there is no point of reviewing it at all.”
KATS is stating that it is going to carefully examine Tesla’s request while paying careful attention to flows of global markets.
“While South Korean Government decided to unify fast charging methods under ‘Combo (Type 1) 1’ after going through technical experts and technical councils, we have no option but to examine Tesla’s request since it submitted its request during a period of previously notified #official announcement.” said a representative for KATS. “After examining discussions with experts, global charging methods, and trends of technical developments comprehensively, we are going to give out an answer as soon as possible.”
Staff Reporter Park, Taejoon | gaius@etnews.com

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