Automakers Take Charging Seriously

Wards Auto - May 3, 2012

Gov­ern­ments around the world are forc­ing automak­ers through man­dates and reg­u­la­tions to pro­duce elec­tric vehi­cles. Automak­ers are slow­ly increas­ing pro­duc­tion, and there are more play­ers enter­ing the EV game. Each automak­er has devel­oped its own sys­tem for recharg­ing the bat­tery. This has result­ed in a vari­ety of charg­ing options. Com­pa­nies pro­duc­ing charg­ing sta­tions gen­er­al­ly have appli­ca­tions for only one sys­tem. Now, some automak­ers are work­ing coop­er­a­tive­ly to devel­op a com­mon fast-charg­ing solu­tion.

Con­sumers remain wary, how­ev­er, of this new tech­nol­o­gy.  The sales rate for EVs remains very low despite high gaso­line prices. One main con­cern is range anx­i­ety, the fear of being strand­ed on the road with a dead bat­tery. Charg­ing sta­tions are pop­ping up in cities around the U.S., but some will only recharge a Nis­san Leaf, oth­ers only the Chevro­let Volt. All of this is incon­ve­nient and unset­tling for own­ers.

One oth­er issue is the length of time required to top off the bat­tery. Ini­tial­ly own­ers were told it could take eight to twelve hours. Most peo­ple only have that kind of time overnight at home or at the office. To be able to dri­ve with con­fi­dence, own­ers need a ‘quick’ charge when out shop­ping or oth­er activ­i­ties.

Automak­ers, led by those in Detroit and Europe, are attempt­ing to solve both of these con­cerns. They are work­ing togeth­er to devel­op what is being called DC-fast charg­ing with a ‘Com­bined Charg­ing Sys­tem.’

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