A group of U.S. and German automakers demonstrated an electrical vehicle charging standard at Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 (EVS26) that used a single plug to support both AC charging (including ‘level 1″ at 120V and “level 2″ at 240V) and DC fast-charging. Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and Porsche are all behind the new standard – which means they’re not behind the CHAdeMO DC fast-charging standard backed by Nissan and other Japanese automakers (or, for that matter, behind the separate DC charger offered by Tesla).
At stake is more than whether noted venture capitalist and chromed-out Fisker Karma owner Justin Bieber can plug in when he drops in on Elon Musk to talk investment strategies. Charging standards are widely, and rightly, seen as a key precondition for widespread market adoption. Issues of charging station availability and the resulting “range anxiety” are bad enough for would-be EV owners, without further doubts over whether or not the latest charging station will be compatible with their cars. Eventually good sense should prevail and send one approach the way of Betamax and the HD-DVD. In the meantime, the high cost of EVs is a bigger impediment, and >>the slow downward march of battery costs means that automakers have time to sort out their differences<< before EVs are ready for widespread adoption (see the report “Searching for Innovations to Cut Li-ion Battery Costs“).