Is standardised EV charging too late?
27th Sept 2011. Cross-Europe harmonisation on plug type for charging EVs: too little, too late?
European car and truck manufacturers have agreed on standardised types of plugs and sockets for charging electric vehicles (EVs). The same type will be used irrespective of car make, electricity provider or country.
At present there is fragmentation of the market across Europe and elsewhere. But now Europe’s automotive manufacturers have agreed on a standard connection between the electricity grid and electrically-chargeable vehicles – which will benefit the driver, the automotive industry and the infrastructure provider.
‘This is a major step towards the broader introduction of electrically-chargeable vehicles in Europe and paves the way for a harmonised solution around the globe’, said Ivan Hodac, Secretary General of ACEA, the automotive manufacturers’ trade association. ‘We call on the European Commission, the standardisation bodies and the infrastructure providers to adopt these recommendations and to clear remaining issues as soon as possible.’
Implementation six years away
But the ACEA is not advocating full implementation until 2017 – six years away. And this is far too slow for some charging point manufacturers – notably Brighton-based Elektromotive who claim that it will hamper the development of the technology.
‘While consensus from car manufacturers is both necessary and very welcome, the proposed timescales for implementation need to be much shorter,’ said the company's managing director Calvey Taylor-Haw. ‘We have a range of EVs on the market right now, and many more are due next year. In order to give people across Europe sufficient confidence in the EV market so that they will actually buy these vehicles, we need widespread agreement on standards – right now.’
In practice, however, now that vehicle manufacturers have agreed on standards, they’re unlikely to continue fitting non-standard parts. In all probability, the European Commission will adopt the ACEA’s recommendations and in the interim, Elektromotive’s best solution would be to manufacture electric charging points that conform to the agreed charging standards.
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