European Auto Manufacturers Agree on First Phase of Specifications to Connect Plug-ins to the Grid

The European automobile manufacturers have agreed to a first phase of joint specifications to connect electrically chargeable vehicles to the electricity grid in a safe and user-friendly way.

The agreement covers at current stage widely-used and ready-to-use infrastructure both on the side of the car and on the side of public and private infrastructures. This first phase of specifications only covers 1 and 3-phase AC charging in the short- and medium-term, and reflects the needs of passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles. Further agreements will follow for long-term, DC charging (quick charging) and heavy-duty vehicles.

Phase 2 suggests a uniform EU solution that reduces the variety of solutions in the market, and on the other hand, maintains maximum flexibility for consumers and predictability for producers. Harmonized rules for phase 2 will apply for new vehicle types starting 2017, so to provide the industry with enough lead time to implement these new solutions in their vehicle development programs and to make necessary adaptation in the infrastructure.

Phase 1 agreements include:

  • Vehicle inlet. No restrictions on type of vehicle inlet as vehicles with different types are already on the market or in a late development phase. Manufactures will provide at least one cable with Type 2 plug (Mode 3) or standard domestic plug (Mode 2) to connect to infrastructure.

  • Public charging (infrastructure side). Type 2 (Mode 3). Industrial sockets (IEC 60309-2 – Mode 2) should be allowed for this transitional period. As vehicles from Phase 1 product launches will be equipped with different kinds of vehicle inlets, it is important that all public charge spots which use attached cables have an additional Type 2 infrastructure socket outlet. If the vehicle inlet is of a different type than the connector on the fixed cable, the customer must be able to use its own cable delivered with the vehicle. (Any adaptors on the vehicle side are forbidden by IEC 61851 due to safety concerns).

  • Home charging (infrastructure side). Type 2 (Mode 3), standard home socket outlet (Mode 2) or industrial socket (IEC 60309-2 - Mode 2). Standard home sockets are widely available and well known to customers making them easy to use; therefore they should remain a valid solution for the market uptake. However, a third party certification of the household electricity grid should be conducted before the electrically chargeable vehicle is first charged.

Current Phase 2 agreements include:

  • Vehicle inlet. Harmonized solution, using Mode 3 charging, will apply for new types starting 2017.

  • Public charging (infrastructure side). Mode 3 uniform EU solution (Type plugs specifications to be finalized by the end of 2010 in conjunction with the CEN/CENELEC activities, having in mind global context).

  • Home charging (infrastructure side). Mode 3 uniform EU solution (Type plugs specifications to be finalized by the end of 2010 in conjunction with the CEN/CENELEC activities, having in mind global context). Standard domestic sockets or industrial sockets (Mode 2) should still be allowed on condition of third party certification of the household electricity grid to be conducted before the electrically chargeable vehicle is first charged.

Currently different connectors are proposed for electric vehicle charging in Europe (IEC 62196-2 Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3). Only Type 2 and Type 3 connectors can be used for single- and three-phase charging, which is essential for a region with three-phase distribution grids and household service connections which can be single- or three-phase such as Europe.

Countries such as Japan and the USA, where three-phase is not as readily available as in Europe, have decided to use a pure single-phase connector (IEC 62196-2 Type 1). China has similar distribution grids as Europe and therefore includes in the new standard the IEC 62196-2 Type 2 connector for the vehicle and the infrastructure.

The main differences between the two universal 1 and 3 phase connectors are maximum current and the use of shutters.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) notes that the current joint position and recommendation is based on best knowledge of the current situation and state of technical development. Certain technical solutions may still need to be validated in detail, it cautions, as the technical specifications have not yet been finalized in the different International Standardization Groups.

This agreement provides the firm willingness of automotive manufacturers to come ultimately to one standardized solution for the charging of electric vehicles. It provides from today’s perspective long-term guidance. Of course, it might be revised if the validation of current solutions is negative and/or if better technical solutions are developed in the coming years.

In this context, we strongly support the European Commission’s upcoming electro-mobility demonstration project (FP7 – Green Cars Initiative) which will test and validate the different technical solutions and standards. The learnings and outcomes of such a demonstration project could eventually result in a set of different recommendations.

—ACEA position on recommendations for charging

The industry recommendations will enable the relevant EU standardization bodies to make rapid progress with defining a common interface between the electricity infrastructure and vehicles throughout Europe. The recommendations also provide decisive guidance to public authorities that are planning investments in public charging spots.

This is an important step towards the successful deployment of electrically chargeable vehicles in Europe. A uniform and user-friendly charging infrastructure is a prerequisite to build a market. We want to avoid a situation where customers have to carry a multitude of charging cables to use their vehicles in different cities, regions and countries, just as we see today with items like mobile phones.

—Ivan Hodac, Secretary-General of ACEA, the automobile industry’s trade association in Brussels

The European specifications could form the basis for a global standard, the automakers suggest. Japanese and South Korean manufacturers have been closely involved in developing the joint industry recommendations for the European market.

The ACEA members are BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT Group, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, Scania, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen and Volvo.

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