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Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Standards for Fast Charging
Prospects for long-distance travel by electricity continue to be limited. Until a mechanism for replenishing a car's batteries, either by charging them quickly or swapping them altogether, is in place, the appeal of electrics will be constrained. Even with cars for sale that offer 300-mile batteries, a cross-country vacation in a purely electric car remains impractical.
Fast-charging solutions -- typically, systems that can restore a battery to 80 percent of its capacity in 30 minutes or less -- are already available, but the connectors and software used in these direct-current chargers are largely incompatible. As standards wars go, the debate over which will become the de facto industry leader is a small-scale version of the epic battle between Betamax and VHS. so please tell me which is VHS NOW!!!
For us, this means that not only must they locate a high-speed charger when they travel, but it has to to be a specific type of charger -- a factor that could hurt already struggling E.V. sales.
That incompatibility appears to be growing. In May, the Detroit Three and five German carmakers, including Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, said they would create a charger with a two-prong connecter that could provide a fast direct-current charge, or a slower alternating-current charge, in a single combined plug.
The announcement angered companies here that have backed a rival technology. For several years, Nissan, Mitsubishi and many charger makers have developed a technology called CHAdeMO, which is installed in at least 1,500 fast chargers globally. Any new standard, these companies say, is unnecessary and ultimately destructive.