European Carmakers Agree On Standard Plug, Which One Unknown

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

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.”

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • 92golf 92golf on Sep 23, 2011

    One plug to rule them all, one plug to bind them........ Seriously though, I obviously don't get out much. I had no idea there were so many different and competing standards.

  • MrWhopee MrWhopee on Sep 23, 2011

    Truly, the world is just one big, tall tower of babel... Can't we agree on anything? Even standards of measurement aren't the same across the world...

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.
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