As proponents of battery power like to envision the future, owners of electric vehicles will do their charging overnight when energy rates are lowest. But there’s an increasing sense that for battery cars to make the transition from niche to mainstream they’re going to have to operate a lot more like the conventional, gasoline-powered vehicles motorists are used to.
And that, acknowledges Doug Parks, chief of battery car programs for General Motors, will mean making it easy to get a quick charge-up during the day, much as one would pull into a gas station to top the tank. The problem has not only been coming up with a quick-charge system but ensuring that it will work with anyone’s battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, regardless of the brand.
That appears ready to happen. The basic charging technology is already in place and now, a consortium of five major automakers has come to agreement on a one-size-fits-all high-speed charging standard. That is likely, according to industry sources, ensure that the rest of the industry also signs on.
The group includes BMW, Daimler AG – the maker of Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars – Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen. The latter represents not only its own brands, such as VW and Audi, but also Porsche which has laid out plans for a number of plug-in hybrids and other battery-based products.