If you have ever traveled through Europe, you know that electrical plugs are a mess. European carmakers want to avoid the same mess when you travel with your electric vehicle, say from Germany to Italy via Switzerland. It’s enough that you will have to charge early and often. It’s enough that places to plug in will be scarce in the beginning. But at least the plug should fit your car. To promote that noble cause, the European Automobile Manufacturer Association ACEA has defined “a comprehensive set of recommendations to standardize the charging of electrically chargeable vehicles. The joint industry proposal will enable the use of one type of plug independent of car make, electricity provider or country.” So what will they use?
Nobody knows. The ACEA “recommendations cover the whole link between the public charging infrastructure and the vehicle inlet including the communication between the two, and they address both slow and fast charging with direct or alternate current. As soon as approved by the relevant standardization bodies, vehicle manufacturers will start integrating the uniform application in their production cycles. The auto industry advocates the full implementation for new vehicles types from 2017.”
Which plug remains a secret. Most likely, it will not be the SAE J1772 plug favored in the U.S,, nor the CHΛdeMO plug popular in Japan, but a different, European plug. Just to keep things interesting. At least we know that the secret standard will allow fast and slow charging, AC and DC. And how many people will plug in? Says the ACEA:
“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.”