Did you ever arrive in a foreign country, and the plug of your battery-depleted cell phone did not fit? Or worse, it did fit, and the charger went up in smoke? That’s nothing compared to the impending EV disaster. Buy an EV, and you will find yourself between the battle lines of plugs, voltages, and technologies. Imagine the horror: Guided by your GPS, you limp into a charging station on the last watts in your battery, and their round plug doesn’t fit your square socket.
The Japanese government has set a goal of 5,000 high-speed charging stations in place nationwide by 2020, writes The Nikkei [sub]. Some say that this is a mere shadow of the approximately 50,000 gas station in Japan that serve cars with a much bigger range. Other say that this is Japan’s move to establish a fait accompli in the worldwide race to establish a global standard for charging technology.
In Japan alone, all kinds of companies are entering the charging business. They range from established charger manufacturers such as Takaoka Electric and Hasetec to Nissan which wants to install proprietary charging equipment at 200 group dealerships (nice traffic generator…) Even trading houses like Marubeni want in on the game.
Toyota, Nissan, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and 155 other companies and associations formed a consortium in March to promote the Japanese standard, dubbed CHAdeMO. Earlier in the year, Japan has been making moves to set ECE standards for electric vehicles.
The U.S. and European countries have their own ideas and their own technologies. Setting the standard “would give their automakers an advantage in the market for electric vehicles,” says the Nikkei. Ain’t that the truth.