Agreement reached on common 'plug' for electric cars: firm

Apr 19, 2009
An electric cable is attached to the side of a car. Leading automotive and energy companies have reached agreement on a common "plug" to recharge electric cars, a spokeswoman for German energy company RWE said Sunday.

Leading automotive and energy companies have reached agreement on a common "plug" to recharge electric cars, a spokeswoman for German energy company RWE said Sunday.

The three-point, 400-volt plug, which will allow electric cars to be recharged anywhere in a matter of minutes, is set to be unveiled Monday at the world's biggest industrial technology fair in Hanover, northern Germany.

"A car must be able to be recharged in Italy in exactly the same way as in Denmark, Germany or France," an RWE spokeswoman, Caroline Reichert, was quoted as saying in an edition of Die Welt to appear Monday.

She gave no timeframe for the introduction of the plug, saying that talks between the companies were ongoing.

The agreement on a common standard for the plug comprises several major , including Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

firms signed up to the accord include Eon, Vattenfall, EDF, Npower, Endesa and Enel.

Berlin hopes that one million electric cars will be on the road by 2020. RWE and Daimler launched a pilot project in Berlin in September.

The development of a common plug is a major step towards the mass production of , Reichert told Die Welt.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 28

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Bob_B
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2009
Good luck using that plug in the USA. We have no leading car companies and will take the "Tower of Babel" approach as usual.
Fazer
5 / 5 (5) Apr 19, 2009
Uh, they specifically mention Ford and GM as being involved. I don't see anything wrong with having one standard plug, in fact it sounds great. Now companies can start creating products to allow others to build up the infrastructure needed to support electric cars.
mjporter
5 / 5 (4) Apr 19, 2009
Glad to see they did this practically from the start with electric cars rather than waiting for years like they did with cellphones...
Truth
1.5 / 5 (11) Apr 19, 2009
The oil-based automotive industry, which relies on a world-wide 500 Trillion dollar a month infrastructure such as filling stations, brake shops, muffler shops, tire shops, auto parts stores, engine repair shops, ad infinitum, will absolutely, POSITIVELY, never let go of the gasoline money-making behemoth. The few tinker-toy electric cars that they will let on the market are going to be nothing but a "throw them a bone and make them shut-up" scam...The only way to make them really do it is a co-ordinated, world-wide "do it now or else" revolution.
Soylent
5 / 5 (5) Apr 19, 2009
Truth, are you quite sure the "oil-based automotive industry" is 94 times larger than world GDP?
Roj
5 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2009
The only way to make them really do it is a co-ordinated, world-wide "do it now or else" revolution.


NoFixNoPay.info installs those plugs for anyone who buys Euro appliances. Similar European equip. voltages run at US trade shows & homes all the time, with inexpensive buck-boost transformers.

North America's "National Electrical Code" requires specific wiring methods with boost xfmrs, and local codes may require safety inspection & approved plans to prevent fire hazards.

The Equip. Mfg. certifies frequency for both 50/60Hz markets. Any Electric Car Mfg making 60Hz recharging incompatible would be unheard of.

The biggest hassle is avoiding criminal contractors that intimidate small property owners into avoiding local inspections, by overstating the cost of a $150 permit.
dse471
3.5 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2009
The oil-based automotive industry, [...] will absolutely, POSITIVELY, never let go of the gasoline money-making behemoth.


Not until they make electrical "filling stations" and charge people $0.30/kWh on electricity they paid $0.10/kWh for.
Nartoon
1 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2009
and where do we get 400v outlets to allow us to recharge at home? 220v is as high as it goes, this'll cost trillions to upgrade every house
Ratex
4 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2009
@Nartoon. Actually in civilised countries with 230V @ 50Hz you can pull 400 V between two phases, instead of the 230V you get between one phase and zero, so no problem there.

http://en.wikiped...ic_power

SMMAssociates
3.2 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2009
@Ratex: BUT, it's just one more level of confusion v.s. simply requiring a (fairly) standard 220VAC "range plug" with a simple adapter if anybody really cared to be compatible with "european" standards. WTH do I care if I can charge my car in Spain, for example. I may never be there, and almost certainly would be without my car.

(There's little practical difference between 50hz and 60hz in this application as long as the designers are aware of the situation. I'm surprised they didn't pick 276hz or something equally goofy.)

DGBEACH
5 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2009
{Prayer to the God of copper wire} "Please God, don't make them be made by Tyco!"
But seriously, this is good news, in that many people have had the foresight to get together on something this important. "The devil is in the details".
And by the way, there are things called "step-up" transformers for those with no access to 400V.
Egnite
5 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2009
How many adapters/transformers does a home have in it today?? I doubt charging your car anywhere will be an issue, if it is, someone will make an adapter and earn from it.
Lord_jag
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2009
An efficient 220V to 400V transformer will be cheap and easy to make, even up to 20 amps. You could store it in your garage (where else?) and plug in your car easily.

The biggest issue will be having the connect have a soft start circuit and a cutout circuit. You don't want a 400 V energized cable when it's not plugged into a car.
Ivan2
2 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2009
and where do we get 400v outlets to allow us to recharge at home? 220v is as high as it goes, this'll cost trillions to upgrade every house

Four-wire electricity? (to get to 220 you just double the number of input wires, right?)


Not until they make electrical "filling stations" and charge people $0.30/kWh on electricity they paid $0.10/kWh for.

I love an optimist as much as anyone, but... try "70 cents less than 4 years after it's implemented".
Ant
4 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2009
To get approx 400 volt without transformation a house would need an existing 3 phase supply of which any two phases will give approx 400 volts. This is not the supply case for most existing houses in the UK which is supplied with 230 volts which is derived from a single phase wire and a grounded return know as the nuetral. For a house to be modified to 3 or 2 phases the section between the 3 phase cable in the road and your premises would have to be updated by replacement.
DGBEACH
4.7 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2009
To *JLMEALER*... I believe your vehicle runs on hot air, since that's all you've shown us...but since we are on the internet there's no way to be sure which of your ends it came out of!
DGBEACH
5 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2009
Next time John be a little more forthcoming with the info. Mutated bacteria to produce diesel and gasoline from CO2 sounds like an interesting idea...to make YOU rich...but then we'd just be dependent on you instead of big oil...I'll take my power from my less efficient solar panels, or non-polluting Hydrogen instead!
Ratex
1.5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2009
@SMMAssociates, Well, the 400V appliance will be used whenever possible, so when you're charging somewhere away from home, there will probably be a proper 400V connector there, however the cable by itself does not require any specific voltage, so you might just as well connect it to a 110/230V source at home if 400V's not available, however in that case you could expect the charging to take more time.
@Ant, I'm sorry to hear you're to cheap in the UK to put a few extra vires in the ground when your at it, that's even more stupid than not using the metric system, I'm stunned of how clever people can be. Copper's not that expensive. I'm happy, since the 400V is the highest untransformed voltage I can get at home, I'm happy if I can use it.
JLMEALER
1 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2009
Okay DGBEACH.. here we go again. People who know little to nothing about automobiles or better yet power sources like to throw insults... Nothing new, you must be a liberal(?)

[ACTUALLY the MEALER does run on hot air]

Why.. WHY would I give you the details of the design for the MEALER's engine and power train system? Once we are in actual manufacturing I will be MORE THAN HAPPY to take you on a tour of a plant.

My patented engine and power system will supply
3 phase power in itself to whatever medium I choose for delivering power.. Let's see if you can handle this DGBEACH, The MEALER uses a form of 'man made' highly charged Solvolytic Plasma in a closed system to drive the secret parts of the 'engine'...The final power transfer is hydrastatic drive.. Does that make you feel better?
Send me an email at yahoo.. with my name and I will explain more.

To *JLMEALER*... I believe your vehicle runs on hot air, since that's all you've shown us...but since we are on the internet there's no way to be sure which of your ends it came out of!

Lord_jag
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2009

Four-wire electricity? (to get to 220 you just double the number of input wires, right?)


4 wire electricity is normally used for what they call "3 phase power" It's normally reserved for very high powered applications. I've personally seen 3 phased power in 120, 220 and 600V systems. There are 3 hots that are 120 degrees out of phase (instead of 2 at 180 degrees) and a ground return line.

Don't try to hook it up yourself... You need an electrician. It IS available from your electric company, but it's expensive. Most large industries have them.
Lord_jag
5 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2009
@SMMAssociates, Well, the 400V appliance will be used whenever possible, so when you're charging somewhere away from home, there will probably be a proper 400V connector there, however the cable by itself does not require any specific voltage, so you might just as well connect it to a 110/230V source at home if 400V's not available, however in that case you could expect the charging to take more time.



That won't work. If it needs 400 then 220 won't cut it. I'll bet they want a 350V DC battery. 220 won't trigger the diodes in the bridge rectifier. You'll need to step it up. That's easy to do with a cheap transformer.



@Ant, I'm sorry to hear you're to cheap in the UK to put a few extra vires in the ground when your at it, that's even more stupid than not using the metric system, I'm stunned of how clever people can be. Copper's not that expensive. I'm happy, since the 400V is the highest untransformed voltage I can get at home, I'm happy if I can use it.


I agree with you on the metric system, but one drop of 220 is more than enough for most households in the UK. You don't *REALLY* don't need a center tap like we have in North America. 220 as base power is easier and leaves for smaller wire diameters, but larger transformers for electronics.



Copper is VERY expensive, and it's price is skyrocketting. Go to your hardware store and compare copper tube to steel aluminum PVC or ABS. I remember when copper was so cheap we made fences from it, but those days are long gone.



You can get far more than 400VAC 3 phase to a residence, you just have to prove to the electric company why you need it. A buddy of mine has 80 acres just north of here with an airstrip. He has his own 25 KV drop which he breaks down into 600 VAC and 220 with a center tap. He's got all the power he'll ever desire.
Soylent
5 / 5 (2) Apr 26, 2009
That won't work. If it needs 400 then 220 won't cut it.


Use 3-phase. It's likely your stove and your washing machine's already got it; why would it be such a horrible inconvenience to install for your car?

Copper is VERY expensive


Spot price is $2/pound.

...it's price is skyrocketting


It's plummeting like a rock. Just a year ago during the commodity bubble it was double!
jstack6
5 / 5 (1) May 11, 2009
In the USA we now have the agreed to J-1772 plug for all electric vehicles. All SAE vehicles will use this new standard.
idaho
not rated yet May 31, 2009
I already have 400 amp service in my garage at home. I just hop they put the cord on the same side on all the different makes so you do not have to drag the cord across the car like you do with the gas hose on some cars.
Lord_jag
not rated yet Jun 04, 2009

Use 3-phase. It's likely your stove and your washing machine's already got it; why would it be such a horrible inconvenience to install for your car?

Uh... not many residences in North America have 3 phase power. They all have two phase power. I've never seen a stove or washing machine outside of laudromats or restaurants that use 3 phase power.
RayCherry
not rated yet Aug 05, 2009
Power Cable?

Can't they drive their cars on to a recharging mat like we have started using for mobile phones and netbooks? Could recharging mats be laid into parking spaces so that electric car drivers get something in return for paid parking?

If they get stuck in traffic, had they better turn off the radio ... or could the car manufacturers include power generation by the driver 'cycling' on the pedals of the stationary car (in 'neutral')?

In-car workout routines displayed on the GPS screen?

Generate electricity, improve health, reduce stress and wonder why people held on to their four polution-generating explosion chambers for so long ...

"Come on Barney, Yabba-Dabba-Doo!"
EarthlingX
not rated yet Aug 17, 2009
Electric cars are about independence or if you prefer freedom. There are many ways you can make electricity at home for the money you pay for the gas. They have less parts and are in general simpler for maintenance.
I would guess they used 3-phase 400V power because it makes refilling times much shorter than 1 phase 230.
jerryd
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009

Apparently only jstack6 knows what he is talking about. In the US the J-1772 plug using either 120 or 240vac, a ground and sensing wire.

Myself I use just a 120vac plug and completely recharge in 2-4 hrs. With a 50 amp dryer plug I could do it in 15 minutes. But I have a very eff EV as EV's should be, lightweight and aerodynamic which needs a far smaller battery pack and EV drive, cutting costs way down.
My 2 EV's get 250 and 600mpg equivalent.