A suite of big-name manufacturers including Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, Fiat, Toyota, and Mitsubishi, have agreed on a common standard for the plugs used for charging electric vehicles. According to German energy company RWE, the plug will be a three-point (live, neutral, earth) arrangement that uses a fixed 400V supply. Daimler, maker of the upcoming electric Smart car, has already begun a pilot scheme with RWE in Berlin (pictured). Although talks are ongoing to finalize the design details, it’s due for unveiling today in Hanover, Germany, at the world’s biggest industrial tech fair–Hanover Messe.
That “rest-stop” model will probably only be relevant in the early years of the EV, while the cars have limited range. But there’s also the issue of cross-boarder traveling to think about–less of an issue for private drivers in the U.S., but the European public is used to crossing boarders on a daily basis. If each country had a different standard, then having to haul around a bunch of socket/voltage converters would be a severe barrier to adoption. And there are all those millions of trucks on the roads, hauling materials between exporters and importers–someday soon they’ll be electric too.
The big names involved in this agreement dwarf some of the the interesting, but low-volume EV producers currently in the news, such as Tesla, Aptera. With these companies getting behind the EV plug standard, electric cars could become viable sooner than you may have imagined.