Car manufacturers define charging infrastructure

European automobile manufacturers have defined joint specifications to connect electrically chargeable vehicles to the electricity grid.

The recommendations have been made by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), whose members include BMW Group, Daimler, Fiat Group, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe and Jaguar Land Rover.

According to a statement, the industry recommendations will enable the relevant EU standardisation bodies to make progress with defining a common interface between electricity infrastructure and vehicles throughout Europe.

The recommendations are also claimed to 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,’ said 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 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 able 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.

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

Click here for in depth analysis of Britain’s electric car infrastructure.

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 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.