By on September 17, 2010

Germany doesn’t have an EV yet, but they already have a standard fort he EV plug. I would expect no less from my countrypersons. Before they do anything new, they first create a standard for it. Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen have agreed to support a connector system for the charging of electric vehicles based on IEC standard 62196-2. The five German vendors invited utility providers and other OEMs to join the group. Given Volkswagen’s  monstrous market share in Europe, there won’t be much other choice for the juice.

According to EE Times, the OEMs have agreed upon a modular concept that has AC as base functionality, with DC charging as a future option. High voltage high-current DC charging is seen as essential for a fast charge. The connector has been submitted for standardization under the designation IEC 62196-2 Type 2 and supports single-phase and three-phase AC. The connector provides network connectivity over CAN bus and power line communications according to ISO/IEC 15118.  The connector battles with a Japanese one, the CHAdeMO,  based on a JARI Level 3 DC fast charge connector, and with the American SAE J1772 connector. It looks like the Japanese are ahead in the game, and the Germans would have done better with adopting the Japanese standard.

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22 Comments on “Germans Agree On A Common Plug...”


  • avatar

    I understand that America can’t even adopt yellow turn signals, so SAE is a lost cause by expectation. However I expected more from Germans.

    Edit: on second thought, the problem appears to be the lack of AC in CHAdeMO. Sounds like a good excuse to delay it.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Despite utopic dreams some people have for harmonized international standards, I’ve never seen it happen.  Each country or economic bloc has its own ideas for safety, utility, and protectionism, and they will defend them to the end.
     
    This disparity just makes it harder, slower, and vastly more expensive to develop and deploy an international product.
     
    Maybe the Germans were uncomfortable restarting their WWII Axis alliance with Japan.

  • avatar

    Everybody agree to a common plug? Not if they cooperate like the Consumer Electronics industry. Anyone who has ever bought one of those ‘fits anything’ AC adapter/charger gizmos knows what I mean. A wire with a multi-tap at the end that fits 6 or 7 different holes in their collection of radios, tapeplayers, phones, mp3 players, etc. The thing weighs about half an ounce. Except one to fit all the different (ours works better) cars would no doubt weigh several pounds.

    Agree one one plug. I’d be surprised. Sounds too easy!

    • 0 avatar

      Umm dude, everyone with a half-decent product (except Apple, of course) have switched to mini- and micro-USB type B connector, like, three years ago. The problem you are describing has ceased to exist. Bottom line: stop buying your electronics from losers.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    It is amazing that there are only three “standards”.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    The worst part? That picture is of the new standard mobile phone charger.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Yes…We need a global central planning commitee…Maybe put some filthy parasite like LaHood as absolute ruler.

  • avatar
    StevenJJ

    Where is Bilderberg when you need them.

  • avatar
    V572625694

    This totally supports the hypothesis, based on my mere smattering of electrical engineering knowledge, that everything runs better on DC. The AC distribution network is an historical relic.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      Your generally right. However, AC is still the most efficient way for utility companies to transmit power over long distances for two reasons. 1) AC power lines lose less power over long distances versus an identical DC line and, 2) by transmitting power in AC format and making the consumer convert it to DC, the utility company makes the consumer pay for any energy that is lost in the AC-DC conversion. (Think about the heat generated by your laptop transformer or other block plugs. That’s energy you paid for, but have now lost as heat)The utility company would much rather have the conversion loses on your side of the meter instead of on theirs. Since energy is generated in AC format, it is easiest and cheapest for the utility company to just send out the electricity as is.

    • 0 avatar

      All this talk about efficiency is completely bogus. In fact, if the lines weren’t lossy, grid could not exist (for the reasons of balancing and lack of energy storage: resistive losses in the transmission permit approximate balancing of power producers and consumers, without which grid is impossible).
      The main advantage of AC is the step-down transformer that enables the distribution network without massive DC-DC converters. Look how much a DC-DC unit on your motherboard costs, what its rating is, and what its efficiency is. Not to mention that semiconductor DC-DC simply didn’t exist in the days of Westinghouse.

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      Take a chill, there are some very nice aparaticos available that make the pass from AC to DC in the consumption point not only feasible, I’d even venture to say, cheap. It would also be compact.
      The AC network is far from obsolete.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      This is not about power transmission from the power plant to your charger, this is about your charger to your car.
       
      As of now, only Japan’s CHAdeMo has a 62.5Kw Level 3 fast-charge mode; which is 300-500V DC at 100s of amperes.  The US and German standards are still stuck at Level 2.
       
      This means a car like the Leaf can have almost half of its battery charged in around 10-15 minutes or so (enough to get home and charge the rest from there).  This is important if there are going to be public EV charging stations.  Level 1 and Level 2 charging takes hours to charge, Level 3 is measured in minutes. Level 3 DC fast charge is the only way to make an EV as convenient as a gas car.
       
      Regardless, by the time EVs become mainstream both US and German standards will likely support Level 3 Fast Charging; there still is a lot of time.  Also, it should be mentioned that IEC 62196-2 isn’t an official standard yet outside the German automakers.  They are counting on VW’s Euro market share to force the entire EU to adopt the standard, which is being pushed through by German company Mennekes, which makes the plugs.
       
      Either way, we will likely see dozens of these standards as China is unlikely to adopt any of these.

  • avatar
    nonce

    The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.

  • avatar
    beken

    Another thing I learned about technology, once you have it standardized, it’s considered obsolete.  Obsolete even before an electric car even makes it to market.
     
     

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    We Americans cannot even get with the metric system. Let alone join with the rest of the world on any other standards that we did not start ourselves.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The metric system is overrated.  I actually prefer the English system since the oddness of the conversions helps prevent errors by orders of magnitude.  I’m an engineer, but maybe my age (47) has something to do with it.

      Not accepting a standard we did not invent is not really the problem.  Your comment on American ethnocentricity may be true for some things, but if it was true for electrical or automotive standards, you could ask why so many other countries also have their own standards.

      Standards vary according to the emphasis on safety issues, economics, and even some gray relationships between manufacturers and the regulating governments.  Just as BP had the expertise to clean up its own oil spill, so the various auto and industrial experts are often very involved in creating the standards by which they will be governed and regulated.  It is instructive to read the draft of a standard to see who participated in its development – it will be numerous industry leaders, plus some guy from a government agency.

      As for economics: For years I designed instrumentation that would be used in hazardous (explosive) plants.  The European standard (actually, there were several; even they couldn’t agree) for safe enclosures was cumbersome and expensive to comply with.  The American standard – while just as safe – was much cheaper and simpler to implement.  There is no reason the Americans should have accepted the European standard.

      Another factor is plain: The American consumer market is huge, so it stands to reason that an American standard can be generated almost without concern for what other nations are doing.  If China ever begins to care about its citizens, you’ll see Chinese regulation begin to dominate.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Some parts of the US have been metric for years.  Automobiles, electrical engineering, all scientific research have adopted the MKS units.  But. yeah, I wish the English system would disappear for good…Kudos for Canada for making the plunge. 

  • avatar
    charly

    I miss Opel, especially as it is the only German car maker with an electric car on the market

    • 0 avatar
      Znork

      Indeed, does that mean that Opel will use american plugs? Doesnt matter as long as you charge it in your home, but it could be a bother if you want to charge the car at say the supermarket.

  • avatar
    JimC

    Aren’t we overlooking the obvious?  The most basic, common plug standard of all common plugs- jumper cables!!  Yes folks, I’m being facetious.  Have a great Saturday.

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