Auto Manufacturers Agree on Specifications to Connect Electrically Chargeable Vehicles to Electricity Grid

The European automobile manufacturers have defined joint specifications to connect electrically chargeable vehicles to the electricity grid in a safe and user-friendly way. The industry recommendations will enable the relevant EU standardization bodies to make rapid progress with defining a common interface between the electricity infrastructure and vehicles throughout Europe. The recommendations also provide decisive guidance to public authorities that are planning investments in public charging spots.

“This is an important step towards the successful deployment of electrically chargeable vehicles in Europe. A uniform and user-friendly charging infrastructure is a prerequisite to build a market”, says Ivan Hodac, secretary-general of ACEA, the automobile industry’s trade association in Brussels. “We want to avoid a situation where customers have to carry a multitude of charging cables to use their vehicles in different cities, regions and countries, just as we see today with items like mobile phones.”

The European specifications could form the basis for a global standard. Japanese and South Korean manufacturers have been closely involved in developing the joint industry recommendations for the European market.

The joint specifications cover, in a first step, charging of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, both at home and at public charging spots. During a transition period, customers will be enabled to use the different plugs already on the market. A uniform solution will become standard for all new vehicle types by 2017. The auto industry expects to make recommendations for quick charging and heavy-duty vehicles shortly.

Electrically chargeable vehicles include:

* Battery electric vehicles (BEV) with no other power source than the battery;

* Extended-range electric vehicles (EREV), which use battery as main energy source for daily trips, but use a combustion engine driven range-extender running on hydrocarbons to sustain the battery and to overcome range limitations;

* Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), which use battery as main energy source for daily trips, but run in common hybrid mode, with use of the combustion engine running on hydrocarbons, after batteries are depleted.

Most stakeholders assume a realistic market share for electrically chargeable vehicles in the range of 3 to 10% of new sales by 2020 to 2025, depending on how quickly the most immediate challenges can be addressed.

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