Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen have agreed on the combined charging system as an international standardized approach to charge electric vehicles (EV) in Europe and the United States. (Earlier post.)
This universal charging system needs only a single charging interface at the vehicle allowing the customer to charge with all existing charging methods: one-phase AC-charging, fast three-phase AC-charging, DC-charging at home or ultra-fast DC-charging at public charging stations. This allows electric vehicles from Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen can share the same fast charging stations.
The harmonized electric vehicle charging solution is backward compatible with the J1772 connector standard in the US. Backward compatibility also has been achieved in Europe where the system is based on the IEC 62196 Type 2. The approval of the J1772 standard has given electric vehicle owners the comfort of knowing they can charge at all Level 2 charging stations. Prior to standardization an EV owner had no way of knowing if the charge port they were pulling up to was compatible with their vehicle.
The seven auto manufacturers also agreed to use HomePlug Green Phy as the communication protocol. This approach will also facilitate integration of the electric vehicle into future smart grid applications.
The endorsement of the combined charging system was based on reviews and analysis of existing charging strategies, the ergonomics of the connector and the preferences of customers in both the United States and Europe. The harmonized approach—across both continents and all manufacturers— will provide a framework for future infrastructure planning as well as a communication protocol to assist in the integration of electric vehicles into the smart grids.
The seven auto manufacturers believe the development of a common charging approach is good for customers, the industry and charging infrastructure providers. Standardization will reduce build complexity for manufacturers, accelerate the installation of common systems internationally and most importantly, improve the ownership experience for EV drivers. Automakers point to the success of Level 1 and Level 2 (for 220V charging in the US) as an example of how standardization will increase the adoption of electric vehicles and increase customer satisfaction.