One of the initial obstacles to be overcome before electric vehicles can become a significant alternative to fossil-fueled vehicles is the availability of charging stations for them, since drivers will not want to risk being stranded far from home when the battery runs down. (A very similar problem had to be overcome at first for conventional cars, of course.)
According to a press release from the Ford Motor Company, a group of seven auto manufacturers has agreed on a common standard for fast charging stations in Europe and the US.
Recognizing the importance of a single international approach for DC fast charging, 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.
In addition to the common DC charging standard and common connectors, the agreement also includes use of the HomePlug GreenPHY communications protocol between the vehicle and the charging station, which is intended to facilitate future integration into “smart grid” facilities.
This standard is a welcome step forward, although there is obviously considerably more work to be done; in particular, the Asian car manufacturers are notable by their absence. Still, it is a step in the right direction, and hopefully will encourage further standardization.