Over in Europe, utility companies, automakers, and countless others are working diligently to come up with a global standard for EV charging plugs. The discussions have been ongoing for nearly a decade now, but a final decision is expected within the next year.
Automakers, charging system designers, and utilities companies realize the tremendous need to develop a single charging cord that is standardized across all EVs. To that end, they have formed several groups that have been working hard towards the goal. The groups include the Joint Automotive and Electric Utility Workgroup for an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and the International Electrotechnical Commision.
The main focus of the two groups is to come up with an acceptable universal, standardized charging cord for EVs and plug-in hybrids. There are several proposed designs for consideration at this point, but any design must meet the following criteria listed below, a consensus reached by several automakers last November.
One plug must be capable of charging at any AC voltage level and current level worldwide. It must be compatible with single and 3-phase electric grids. It must be able to handle up to 500 volt ands 70 amps. It has to be a low cost, durable design capable of withstanding the rigors of continuous outdoor use. It must have more than one, redundant safety features to protect the user, and it must lock in place to prevent tampering and theft. Finally, the cable must be compatible with data and communication between the vehicle and the electrical grid.
Certainly a lot of thought must go into a universal charging cable. All of the requirements can be met, but many of the requirements increase the cost of the cable which is the one requirement that is problematic for designers of a universal cable.
With EVs coming to market in greater numbers now, the design of the standardized charging cable if more important than ever. The end goal, is to design a cable to will not only work with existing EVs and those expected within the next few year, but also to come up with a design that will still be acceptable 20 or more years from today. Forward thinking is important and they have to get it right.
Source: Wards Auto (Login Required)