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No Standard for Electric Vehicle Chargers in EU Makes Adoption Difficult

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Nissan Leaf in US - ChaDeMo Port [L] & J1772 Port [R]Every automaker wants to have it their way, but sometimes a universal standard makes things smoother for everyone. For example, before the mid-1990’s every automaker had a different diagnostic port for computer communications and diagnostics.

If you wanted to diagnose a check engine light, you had to have a different connector and sometimes a completely different scan-tool for each vehicle. Starting in 1996, the Society of Automotive Engineers [SAE] adopted the J1962 standard, requiring that all vehicles have a common protocol and connector in the same location.

Electric vehicles, in the beginning, well, now, suffer the same problem, with each automaker having their own plug and charger design, which are incompatible from other makes. If EVs are ever going to be adopted widely, then some standards are going to be needed.

In the US, SAE adopted the J1772 standard, in November 2001, governing configuration of chargers and connectors. EVs sold here in the US must all have this common J1772 connector. The European Union [EU] has a common currency and common laws, but still hasn’t learned from the US regarding a standard EV charger, which is making it difficult for consumers to even consider them.

Only France has adopted a standard Type-3 charger, compatible with all EU standards, but Germany is still holding on to the Type-2, which doesn’t have a protective cover to prevent accidental electrocution.

The Type-2, backed by a number of automotive trade organizations, isn’t acceptable in the UK, Spain, Italy, Sweden, or Finland. In Poland, where EV adoption is so low, standard charging isn’t even being considered. If the EU doesn’t make some kind of standard, then EVs could never become widely accepted.

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