Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of questions initially asked about the Combined Charging System (CCS). If you are missing some details on the website, or, need to quickly look something up, please, feel free to refer to the Frequently Asked Questions – and Answers below.

This document gives answers to questions which have been posed by journalists, politicians and representatives of associations and public organizations during the first public presentations. The answers shall help you better understand the open, universal, internationally standardized charging system for electrical vehicles. You will also see the role of CCS in the global development of electric mobility. The explanations give the common view of the initial members of the Initiative Charging Interface, the “mothers and fathers” behind the development of the CCS.

Claas Bracklo

Questions at Claas Braklo - Chairman of CharIN

In relation to EV adoption across the world, how important is the establishment of the CCS as standard for charging battery-powered EVs of all kinds?

"Due to the unique and future oriented system approach including high power charging and state of the art communication technology, CCS supports the customer adoption of electromobility and secures industry investments into a new technology."

What are the main barriers preventing CCS as standard, and how can they be overcome?

"CCS is already standard in Europe and in the US (and countries following the US standards). Specific national regulations with no explicit benefit for the customer as well as proprietary closed systems are not a danger, but would lead to an intermediate multi system development. The best and most accepted system should be the defacto standard. A standard in just one country or in just one car brand is not a real  standard. CharIN is open for discussions to drive one world standard. Tesla is already member of CharIN, we had a first exchange with a CHAdeMO-Representative to figure out the common baseline."

Where in the world CSS will take off first, and how can other countries follow suit to make it global?

"CCS already took off in Europe and in US! All ACEA members are committed concerning the rollout of CCS by 2017, in the US CCS is the only standard! The European directive on charging standards requests CCS as mandatory on public charging infrastructure, the German implementation has taken into effect in March 2016. The next market could be India, with no legacy and the opportunity to decide by price/performance. Korean car manufactures are expected to use CCS at least for the markets in Europe and US."

What approach needs to be taken with the construction of new charging stations - do you think that those involved need to carefully plan out the best locations and technologies for charging, or is it necessary to roll out infrastructure as quick as possible?

"To fulfill the customer’s expectation we do need charging stations working by 100%, easily accessible and connected to the backend for additional support. Quality is the key for customer satisfaction much more than quick availability, to give trust in new technology is a major task. To ensure interoperability of cars and charging infrastructure is one of the main targets of CharIN and the CCS system approach." 

What are your expectations for the charging infrastructure over the next 5-10 years?

"We see a broad distribution of CCS as the only worldwide standard. Low volume, non standard priority solutions and standards with a low number of implementing OEMs will just exist in an intermediate timeframe, but will be replaced at least with the next technology step of High Power charging and with the mass production of electric cars based on international standards. National regulations could prevent a 100% coverage, we have to work on a midterm alignment to avoid country depending technologies with additional invests without a customer benefit."  

Definition of the Combined Charging System

The Combined Charging System (CCS) is an open, universal and international charging system for electric vehicles based on international standards. The CCS combines single-phase with fast 3-phase charging using alternating current of maximum of 43 kW. It provides very fast high power DC charging (up to 200 kW and 350 kW in the future) within a single system. The CCS system includes the connector, the managing of control functions and the charging communication between electric vehicle and infrastructure. It provides the solution for all charging requirements.

What is the Combined Charging System?

The Combined Charging System is an open and universal charging system for electric vehicles that is based on international standards. It provides the solution for all charging requirements. The Combined Charging System is therefore ONE system for ALL. The CCS combines single-phase AC charging, fast 3-phase AC charging and very fast DC charging within a single system. The CCS system includes the connector, the managing of control functions and the charging communication between electric vehicle and infrastructure.

Within which standardization committees was the CCS developed?

The system was developed in the national and international DKE, IEC, ISO and SAE standardization committees with the support of all German and American OEMs.

Which standards are essentially described in the CCS?

The essential elements of the Combined Charging System are:

  • signaling (pilot signal) in compliance with IEC 61851-1 Annex A
  • AC charging with the Type2-connector (for a 3-phase AC infrastructure as e.g. in Germany in compliance with IEC 62196-2 norm)
  • DC charging with the Combo2 connector (in Europe) in compliance with the IEC 62196-3 norm
  • the communication interface based on ISO/IEC 15118 and DIN SPEC 70121

Main features of the Combined Charging System

The Combined Charging System was designed for global application. It was possible to create a universal standard with the same electric system and installation space as well as with the same charging control and the same safety features for all types of charging (AC and DC charging). Only the geometric components of the charging connector (vehicle plug and charging socket in the vehicle) have been adapted to the regions (USA: Type1/Combo1 plug connection, Europe: Type2/Combo2 plug connection). All other regions can use one of both variations.

Which main features characterize the Combined Charging System?

The main feature of the Combined Charging System is in line with the principle of “ONE system for ALL”: 

  • a combined charging socket in the vehicle (AC or DC can be used, depending on application)
  • one charging control logic for all types of charging methods
  • one charging communication protocol
  •  one charging architecture (2 connectors along with the combined charging socket serve all relevant charging scenarios)

The combined charging socket is equipped with all the contacts required for the different types of charging scenarios worldwide. The already introduced Type1 (for USA) and Type2 (for Europe) charging sockets for AC charging (in compliance with IEC 62196-2) will be supplemented with two additional contacts for high power DC charging. A special feature: The Type1 and Type2 connector for AC charging and the Combo1 and Combo2 connector for high power DC charging are both compatible with the compact charging socket.

Protective equipment ensures a safe charging process. A lock in the charging socket prevents the connector from being unintentionally pulled out of the socket during charging.

The charging process is managed and controlled by electric control signals and a fully automated digital communication via PLC (Power Line Communication) between the vehicle and the charging station. Complex charging processes - for example, a charging process that balances power peaks caused by renewable resources - are also possible with PLC.

CCS charging types – charging duration and performance

The Combined Charging System is the solution to all available types of charging: single-phase or 3-phase charging using alternating current (AC charging from 3.7 kW) as well as DC charging using a house connection up to 20 kW or public charging stations up to 200 kW.

The CCS enables full flexibility: Customers can charge their vehicles over a time period of several hours at home (e.g. at night) or can connect them to public fast charging stations.

The DC fast charging process enables vehicles to be fully charged within 15 to 20 minutes.

How do the different CCS charging types differ?

  • Fast charging starts with a charging power of 22 kW.
  • AC charging is standardized up to 43 kW charging power.
  •  DC fast charging is presently standardized with a charging power up to 200 kW (350 kW in preparation); today it is mainly realized with a maximum charging power of 50 kW.
  • The Mode 2 charging cable makes it possible to charge at any house plug socket.
  • single-phase or 3-phase charging with alternating current (AC charging) up to a max. of 22 kW is called “normal charging”
  • Maximum DC performance in the connector standard is currently limited to 1000V and 200A.
  • Higher charging power is possible with special circuits and cooling concepts.


The starting point was to define and establish a charging system that satisfies all customer requirements with regard to

  • ergonomics and customer wishes
  • safety features
  • robustness
  •  coverage of all charging scenarios

Why was the Combined Charging System developed?

The existing charging solutions were strategically evaluated in 2009. All advantages and disadvantages of the existing solutions, e.g. the Japanese CHAdeMO concept, were taken into consideration during this evaluation process.

The basic idea is very simple – one system for all

The Combined Charging System integrates all established forms of AC charging with fast DC charging within a single system. It expands already existing regional solutions to an integrated and global system.

Particular features are user-friendliness, safety and future applicability. The result is a global system with uniform charging equipment on the vehicle (connector and socket) and a uniform charging communication protocol.

The Combined Charging System was not developed to “reinvent the wheel”. Instead, it is an innovative reconsideration of the solutions that existed at the time. It is based on established protocols and mechanisms that have been developed to an extended and future-proof system.

Supporters of the Combined Charging System

The Combined Charging System is evolving to the leading charging solution worldwide. Across all branches of industry, the automobile industry, energy suppliers and the electronics industry support the implementation and establishment of a standardized solution for the charging of electric vehicles based on the Combined Charging System.

The EU directive on the development of infrastructure for alternative fuel of 2014 established CCS as the required minimum equipment as of 2017.

The association of European automobile manufacturers selected the Combined Charging System as the future standard interface for all electric vehicles.

The ACEA confirmed in a position paper that ALL new electric vehicles will have to implement the Combined Charging System by the end of 2017 at the latest.

This is underpinned by the agreement to use Type2 and Combo2 connectors in Europe that are based on the CCS AC/DC charging interfaces which are compliant to the EU directive.

The Combined Charging System is also seen in the USA as an obvious extension to the existing AC charging standard. Accordingly, SAE, the international association of automotive engineers, completely subscribes to the Combined Charging System.

CCS was selected in October 2012 as the SAE solution for the charging of electric vehicles.  

Benefits and definition of “CCS compliance”



Which vehicles can be charged at charging stations using the Combined Charging System?

The Combined Charging System (CCS) represents the integrated solution for AC and DC charging.

It is based on the further development and expansion of the solutions for single phase charging with alternating current to a uniform and integrated system for all types of charging.

Electric vehicles can be charged at charging stations with the Combined Charging System and are “CCS compliant” if they support the following:

  • AC charging with a Type1 connector (e.g. USA) or with a Type2 connector (e.g. Europe) in compliance with IEC 62196-2 or
  • DC charging with connector Combo1 (e.g. USA) or connector Combo2 (e.g. Europe) in compliance with IEC 62196-3.

What benefits can be expected from the use of the Combined Charging System?

From the point of view of the customer, the advantages are obvious: The system is safe, universal and simple.

  • safe – because the main focus is on the safety functions during the charging process
  • universal – because of the compact interface that enables the operation of all available charging options
  • simple – because of easy operation and handling

From a technological point of view, the system is open, robust and future proof:

  • open – because every company involved can make use of the system and can contribute to its development
  • robust – because of low maintenance costs
  • future proof – because the system allows the expansion of new functionalities

What are the main challenges in the introductory phase of the Combined Charging System?

During the introductory phase of electromobility, one of the greatest challenges is ensuring the provision of a basic charging infrastructure and its connection to authentication and invoicing systems.

The provision of charging infrastructure will stimulate customer demand. This, in turn, will attract the interest of investors. A lack of reliable business models during the introductory phase would hamper the entry of investors into this huge and innovative future market.

The short and medium-term availability of both AC and DC for fast charging to all e-car users, depending on what they need, will therefore be a central theme for a successful market launch. The Combined Charging System, as the universal standard for the AC and DC charging of electric vehicles, will be introduced as the European solution for the standard charging of electric vehicles.

What role does fast charging play in the dissemination of electromobility?

With the availability of a broad network of fast charging infrastructure with multiple charging stations, charging time can be drastically reduced and the driving range considerably estended. This brings us closer to the goal of unlimited, global e-mobility.


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