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Fast EV Charging Station Standardized for Convenience

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author photo by Nick Palermo October 2011

Just five years ago, a mobile phone user who found himself with a dead battery and no charger would have a challenge on his hands - find someone with a similar phone and a compatible charger. Every manufacturer had a different connector, and some brands even had different chargers for different models. But starting in early 2009, the industry began working toward a single standard, making life easier for users who no longer had to hunt for the right charger or get a new one when replacing a device. Now, auto manufacturers hope to do the same for drivers of electric and plug-in hybrid automobiles by creating standards for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The new single-port approach uses one connection for all charging scenarios. All manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic will use the same connector and a single protocol, called HomePlug Green Phy, for communication between the vehicle and charger.

Seven manufacturers are collaborating on the effort to establish a single format for the US and Europe. So far, Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, GM, Porsche and VW have all signed on. These companies believe that the new standard will benefit customers by ensuring that any charging station they pull their EV up to will connect and charge properly. The new stations are also backward compatible with both the current European and domestic standards.

Proponents of the new standard also point to advantages for EV manufacturers and the utilities that provide power. The single-port design means simpler design and engineering for automakers. The common communications platform means vehicles can seamlessly communicate with a connected charging station, allowing integration into future smart grid technologies. Plus, utilities will benefit when updating infrastructure to support EV charging because the necessary hardware will be identical regardless of location.

While EVs and plug-in hybrids are not yet commonplace, use of these vehicles is on the rise, a trend that's expected to continue for years. While most drivers now have to worry only about running out of fuel, range anxiety due to the limited capacity of batteries represents a real concern for EV drivers. Advancements like this standard fast charging station will benefit drivers by increasing the availability of compatible power sources to replenish their batteries.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Fast EV Charging Station Standardized for Convenience - Autotrader