Europeans Push For New Charger Plug

· · 9 years ago

To become mass-market vehicles, electric cars will need to compete on some level with internal combustion-engine vehicles. At least, that's the view of some analysts and car companies, especially when it comes to ubiquitous and fast charging in public places.

One concern is that EVs may be owned by people without garages or private parking or workplace charging. The lack of home base charging is particularly acute in congested European urban areas, the locales where EVs make the most sense as everyday vehicles. The recently adopted J1772 plug, which is now a standard in the U.S., won't get EVs there.

To address the issue in the European market, German automakers are calling for a robust public charging infrastructure with fast-charging capability. And the key for them is a new plug that will accommodate all three levels of charging (rather than just the Level 1 and Level 2 charging used by Nissan for the LEAF and G.M. for the Volt).

Instead, car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen all support a modular "one-size-fits-all" connector system for electric vehicle charging. Their proposal is for a globally integrated standard "to ensure that customers always have direct and easy access to the energy grid, independent of vehicle brand and supplier of electric energy." The core design of the connector system has been submitted for standardization under the designation IEC 62196-2 Type 2 for single- up to three-phase charging with alternating current (AC). They're working on a direct current (DC)application as well.

The modular connector system consists of core and extension components and is applicable to all standard charging scenarios. It will be able to handle single-phase charging at a regular domestic outlets up to three-phase charging at private and public vehicle charging stations, which are currently being rolled-out. The extension can be used for charging at direct current charging stations, similar to already existing Japanese systems. Finally, an important consideration for future developments is it will provide the opportunity for communication over CAN or PLC systems.

This isn't the only upgraded plug design being presented to the international standards bodies, so hold onto your hats and hope we don't re-enter the Beta vs. VHS wars.

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