Germany raced into a two-set lead but with world number one Rafael Nadal roaring on his team mates, Spain fought back to force a fifth set at a packed Plaza de Toros in Valencia.
Nadal and the local crowd erupted in celebration when the 33rd-ranked Ferrer successfully served for the match after breaking Kohlschreiber's serve in the previous game.
Fognini, who spent over 11 hours on court in the victory over Japan in the first round, was furious after Chardy had brushed his shoulder against him during a changeover early in the third set. Nadal has won just four matches in 2018 so far, all of them at the Australian Open, the only tournament he played.
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"But in general it was a very important match and I am very happy".
Kohlschreiber also went down tamely in the second before putting up more of a fight at the start of the third, but 16-time grand slam victor Nadal was relentless and wrapped up the match.
He beat Kohlschreiber in straight sets on Friday after Zverev had overcome Ferrer. Germany then took a 2-1 lead when Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff won the doubles rubber against Feliciano and Marc Lopez. Kohlschreiber twice fought back from a set down, but former French Open runner-up Ferrer broke in the 11th game of the decider and held his nerve on serve after nearly five hours on court.
And the 2013 French Open finalist battled to a 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-5 victory, which sends Spain into a last-four clash with top seeds France.
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Croatia's world number three Marin Cilic got the home team off to a winning start with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 win over Dmitry Popko.
"From the beginning till the end I played on a rather high level; constant pressure, superior, aggressive", said Cilic afterwards.
The heavily-favored USA team took a 2-0 lead against a depleted Belgium side on the indoor hard courts in Nashville, Tenn., to come within a point of its first Davis Cup semifinals in six years.
Spain ended the first day of their quarter-final tie against Germany 1-1 in Valencia.
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