EU mandates standard plug for electric cars

This article is part of our special report Electric Vehicles.

European Commissioner Antonio Tajani yesterday (29 June) gave European standardisation organisations a mandate to develop a common charging system for electric vehicles. 

Three bodies, the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), are to put together a new standard that ensures that all types of electric cars, scooters and bicycles can be safely charged across all 27 EU member states.

The idea is to make sure that all plugs and connectors use the same standard across the Union so that drivers can use the same plug independent of vehicle brand or country.

Three bodies, the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), are to put together a new standard that ensures that all types of electric cars, scooters and bicycles can be safely charged across all 27 EU member states.

The idea is to make sure that all plugs and connectors use the same standard across the Union so that drivers can use the same plug independent of vehicle brand or country.

The European Commission is also asking the bodies to consider "smart-charging" solutions, which would allow users to charge vehicles more cheaply at off-peak times, thus promoting energy savings.

The EU executive said it expected the standards to be ready for deployment by mid-2011.

Tajani argued that a common approach would allow the EU to become a global leader in electric vehicles.

"Electric cars are no longer some abstract concept. In the very near future these will be on our roads. To pave the way for their commercial success, we cannot afford to have incompatible systems leading to a fragmented market in Europe," he said.

The mandate follows a European Commission communication in April, which supported the launch of electric vehicles by calling for widespread installation of accessible charging points and the adoption of common standards (EURACTIV 28/04/10).

European car manufacturers last week agreed on joint specifications for the interface between vehicles and the charging infrastructure.

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association's (ACEA) recommendations sought to inform standardisation bodies and pave the way for rapid progress on developing a common standard.

ACEA said a uniform standard would be the rule for all new vehicle types by 2017. European specifications could even be the basis of a global standard, it argued, putting Europe in the driving seat.

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