The European Commission's recently unveiled plan for cleaner fuels and lowered dependency on imported oil is counting on huge gains from natural gas and electric vehicles. While there are about one million natural gas-powered vehicles on European roads today, the number is expected to increase ten-fold by 2020. EVs are close behind, with millions expected to roll out during that same time period.

German company Mennekes, a maker of electric vehicle charger couplers, forecasts that there will be about eight million charging stations in Europe by 2020, and about 10 percent will be public chargers. For EVs to be widely accepted, the continent needs a uniform charging solution. But, until now, there have been two main types of charging points in Europe, meaning that a car traveling from country to country might not be able to recharge once it crosses the border.

On January 24, the Commission in Brussels approved a common European charging connector system. Mennekes' "Type 2" was declared a common standard for charging ports in Europe. It appears the decision was influenced by what's been going on in the market. In Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, the most widely used plug by far is Type 2, which now has official backing. You can read Mennekes' pamphlet on the plug here (PDF).

European carmakers are in agreement with US manufacturers that the way the Society of Automotive Engineers' combo standard, which integrates DC fast chargers with Level 2, is the right way to go. Neither groups is supporting the Japanese CHAdeMO fast charger, which is already available in vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i. At this stage, the SAE's combo standard just doesn't exist in Europe and, so, Mennekes' Type 2 is being adopted.

For Europe, the great unknown is how many charging stations will be installed in each country by 2020. The European Commission says that by that year, France should have 97,000 public charging stations, Germany should get 150,000, Italy needs 125,000 and the UK target is 122,000. It's not clear how these numbers were calculated and if they're realistic projections.


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  • 32 Comments
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      I never thauth of that but if someone have excess energy then he can call me.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Obligatory: https://xkcd.com/927/
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Made my day!
      mustang_sallad
      • 1 Year Ago
      My understanding is that the SAE and European standards have been harmonized - same general protocol in both cases, they just use a different connector in Europe so that they can use 3-phase when available. In both cases, the DC standard involves just adding two DC pins below the Level 2 connector.
        MTN RANGER
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mustang_sallad
        Yes, the SAE combo plug uses the type 2 (Mennekes) in Europe and type 1 (J1772) in North America.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MTN RANGER
          But are the protocols largely the same?
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      At the height of American auto industrial power during the '60s, SAE could dictate a particular electric plug as the standard without so much as consulting anyone. Not the European or Japanese auto makers. The fact that the European auto makers have unilaterally standardized an electric plug without SAE approval is proof that the American auto industry has declined to a pitiful level that's irrelevant to the European market. GM, Ford, and Chrysler are now members of the Has-Been Club. The only battle left is between the European Menneke standard and the Japanese ChadeMo. The Americans are irrelevant.
        Jim McL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Levine Levine
        The SAE and IEC collaborate fully on these standards. Obviously the IEC 62196-2 connector is based on the J1772, it is simply a market variation for Europe which has ubiquitous three phase unlike North America. There is little value in adding the cost of an extra pin for three phase in North America, so we chose a cheaper connector. There is value in a slightly more expensive connector in Europe, so they chose to add another pin. The control protocols are the same, that is what matters and that is why you are incorrect to call this a different standard.
      Chris M
      • 1 Year Ago
      Then there is the Tesla connector, different from all of the above, and in Supercharger enabled cars it can handle up to 80Kw. Tesla has adapters for J1772, CHAdeMO, and standard US 120 and 240 volt outlets. Not sure if they have a Mennekes or SCAME adapters, though it should be possible - and necessary, when European Model S sales begin. AFAIK, it doesn't handle 3 phase, though there may be an adapter for that in the future. .
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is this good or bad? I really haven't been paying attention.
        JakeY
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        Bad for CHAdeMO, the EV Alliance, and cars using J1772 (like the Leaf), good overall because finally Europe will have one unified level 2 plug (like how the US has settled for J1772). Right now Europe has a mix of Yazaki/J1772 (type 1), Mennekes (type 2), EV Alliance/SCAME (type 3). By picking one, they give certainty to the car/EVSE manufacturers about what direction to go in. And I think type 2 is the best choice since it supports 3-phase (Yazaki doesn't at all, SCAME only supports it in type 3B versions) and has the highest power at 43kW 3-phase. Mennekes even designed a shuttered version to shut up the EV Alliance complaints about shutter requirements in the countries using SCAME. In the US, we'll still be having CHAdeMO and SAE Combo battle it out for the position of the official DC plug. The US policy is to build dual plug stations (I guess we will pick one after it becomes clear which one has "won").
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        Yes.
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder how many cars will implement a 3 phase charger. It's a many times more expensive device than simply taking in DC from chademo. It's a little stupid to have a chademo charger in every car instead of at charge locations..
        JakeY
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Maybe, although the 3 phase charger in the Zoe is quite inexpensive (the car costs less than the Leaf). The thing is 3 phase can offer 43kW of power and is 3 phase is wide spread in Europe. And you only need an EVSE that costs at most thousands, versus $10k+ for a CHAdeMO charger with 50kW max.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        The idea is not bad at all. In Germany, for example,it is common to have at home 22kW 400 3phase. So, image being able to quick charge at any frinds garage when you go for a coffee. Much more difficult is to find chademo quick chargers, than 400V 3-phase installations.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          I have three-phase service at my home here in the US. In the words of gorr, "I'd be interested to buy."
        mustang_sallad
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Pretty sure i saw 3 NLG5 Brusa chargers under the hood of the Rolls Royce EV, no doubt configured to connect to 3-phase power (each charger on 2 phases). How many of those have sold so far? ;) Meanwhile, Brusa's new NLG6 can run on 3-phase up to 22kW, and is supposed to be powering a vehicle from a major European manufacturer by now: http://www.brusa.biz/index.php?id=147&L=1 Pretty sure the Volvo EV's are using this charger. Not sure what the Renault's are using.
          mustang_sallad
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          Really?? Are you sure it's not just the motor inverter that's doing double duty? That'd be straightforward, it's already gotta convert 3-phase AC to DC whenever it does regen. But using the actual motor windings sounds pretty nuts!
          Jim McL
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          I heard the Smart ED was also using the Brusa NLG6 Renault has a system similar to AC Propulsion, where motor windings are used again as inductors in the charging system. Very inexpensive, very smart. Tesla used to license AC Propulsion's patents on this.
      Jim McL
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is not a "Mennekes" plug any more than a J1772 is a "Yazaki" plug, they are only particular vendors. Here is another vendor of these connectors: www.phoenixcontact.nl/local_content_pdf/pdf_nld/52006703_en_03.pdf IEC 62196-2 defines this connector and the SAE J1772 for AC power. IEC 62196-3 defines both for DC fast charging. Yes, the J1772 plug that is in the Leaf and Volt today was updated for DC Level 1 fast charging capability in the October 2012 revision. So with the addition of a temperature sensor and an automated locking mechanism on the receptacle, our familiar little J1772 plug can provide about 30 kw depending on battery voltage. About what many Chademo stations provide with a bigger (and separate) plug. The big J1772 combo plug is only needed for applications above that, up to 100 kw, much more than Chademo can provide. The important point is there is only one protocol standard (IEC 61851 in Europe, which is harmonized with SAE J1772 in the US) with connector options that are appropriate for various markets and applications. And again, there is one document that standardizes all the "options". So there is one standard with multiple options, not multiple standards.
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      The question is, are the german automakers enthusiastic about this plug because it then undermines the growing chademo network thus further delaying electric cars...
        Jim McL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Chademo is not competitive with J1772/62196/61851 in my opinion. Did the developers of Chademo even try to present it to the international standards groups like SAE and IEC which have come up with single plug that does both AC and fast DC charging? Perhaps, but I am not aware of it. The Chademo network can be utilized by cars with international standard connectors like this by way of adapters, Tesla has already announced one such adapter. I suspect that eventually Chademo will disappear, and the stations will be converted (inexpensively) to SAE J1772 / IEC 62196/61851. Why does everyone get upset about different connectors? You have a different connector on your home lighting than you have on your electric stove in the kitchen which is different than the plug on your welder in the garage. So what? They are different applications. The voltages are the same.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jim McL
          GIZA PLATEAU is totally right! This SAE war doesn't make sense from the technical point of view and it really disgusts me. Here are some considerations about the topic: Up to now they did nothing to promote sustainable transports. Now that they have their backs to the wall because EVs are becoming a reality, they try (together with the Seven Sisters and the German car manufacturers) in a hurry to boycott CHAdeMO and EVs in general. CHAdeMO is a proven and future ready (compatible with smart-grids) technology, it is older but surely superior to any AC charging system because you won't need a damn huge charger inside your car to convert to DC. How stupid and less sustainable is to build millions cars with millions onboard chargers instead to build a few high power DC public chargers (even if they are more expensive than AC chargers)? Furthermore considering a DC charger and an AC charger of equal maximum power the mean recharge time would be higher when using the AC charger because not all the EVs will be able to exploit all the power of the charge point (depending on their on board charger). This means that if an AC recharge strategy is chosen you would need to install an higher number of chargers to serve the same number of EVs. I have been thinking about this, high power onboard chargers are really expensive, so it seems to me that by choosing an AC charging strategy the aim is to keep the EV prices sky-high. Furthermore, you would have more weight and less room onboard with all the well-known negative consequences. Ok, someone could say, well the SAE has foreseen the combo charger for DC charging. Well but if the standard is the SAE J1772 (VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2 in Europe) and only a few public chargers would offer the DC charging with the combo, the automakers would be forced to produce cars with the onboard charger and you would be forced to buy them (or better you would be forced not to buy them at all). I think that the solution is DC fast charging (for public charging) with only a small onboard charger (about 1.3 kW for 110V outlets or 2.6 kW for 220V outlets) that you would use at home at night to save money and time (no need to go to gas station anymore!!). Would you buy a bigger, heavier and more expensive mobile phone with an integrated charger?? I don't think so...
      amtoro
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is this port for 240V AC charging or is it for fast-charging (as CHAdeMo)? In Europe you could, in theory, charge anywhere with your portable EVSE as the power out of the Schucko outlets is 230V/15A anyway; but if this standard is for the "normal" charging ports, then all the EV's that are already on the road and have a J1772 like Amperas, LEAFs, etc will be basically banned from using public charging stations and have to rely on wall sockets to charge.
        Jim McL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @amtoro
        You misunderstand. IEC 62196/61851 (which is harmonized with SAE J1772) is for both AC level 1 and 2 charging AND for DC fast charging in the same connector, even today's small connector (with minor invisible upgrades). The Amperas and Leafs use the smaller J1772 plug which can still be applied for DC fast charging. This is the beauty of J1772/62196/61851. A new car model can use a J1772 receptacle that looks exactly like what is on the Leaf today, but configured to accept DC fast charge up to about 30 kw, or good old AC charging, with the same small plug you are used to. The big ugly plug is only needed for the 100 kw applications.
      Vlad
      • 1 Year Ago
      Three standards is just what we need. Anxiously waiting for China to adopt its own - the more, the merrier!
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Vlad
        It would certainly be better if there was one world-wide standard. But that is asking for too much it seems. There will not be a lot of driving of EVs across the Atlantic ocean, so it is fine if Europe adopts a different standard.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Also JakeY: The Mennekes plug doesn't send enough current on any one conductor to make charging truly fast if a car doesn't support 3-phase charging. So just using a Mennekes plug and single or split phase would limit charging to about 30A or 60A. With J1772 80A comes into play. It'd be nice if there were a Mennekes connector that did enough current on two conductors to give max charging power on just split phase. Then the US could use Mennekes with only the connector cost penalty you speak of. In the end, it's a minor issue. As long as there are enough cars sold in both J1772 and Mennekes markets the incremental costs for having two standards instead of one will be almost zero. Only people who want to move a car they already own between the two markets will care.
          Ryan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          It's is fine until you have to pay a higher price because you can't just have one factory making all of the charger plugs. It is good that they have one standard for Europe though. You don't want to buy something and then can't use the new plug that is everywhere.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          @Ryan The problem though is that 3-phase capability is practically worthless in the US and Japan so it might actually cost more money (for us) if we used the same plug as Europe (because of the extra pins and wiring).
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problem until now is not having different connectors: I have in the trunk a Typ1 to Typ2 adapter, and a normal Schuko-to-Typ1 Charger, Chademo is also possible. The real problem resides in different paying methods at different charge providers. To be able to charge within all the public charges in 100KM radius from where I live, I need around 5 different cards/registrations. That simply sucks and has to change. You can just look in internet where the next charger is, you also need to know if you would have needed to register some weeks ago, because they need to send you a customer card. Sh! t, in this century still with plastic cards, is ridiculous. Please make it with SMS/Creditcard!
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