Representatives of German and Italian standardization bodies and industry experts have agreed to make a common proposal to CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, to enhance the existing standard on charging plugs for the electric vehicle-charging infrastructure. The agreement is an important step towards achieving the single e-mobility charging infrastructure as required by the European Commission.
The compromise foresees using the Type 2 socket outlet with an optional shutter for the electric vehicle-charging infrastructure. The option of using a shutter takes into account specific concerns in Italy and some other countries and the special market requirements there. The outlet will offer compatibility with the Type 2 socket that doesn’t have the shutter, used in the majority of European countries. The solution provides a good basis for the European automobile industry and is another example of how standards can be successful deregulation tools.
In recent months, Italian and German experts from standardization and industry have been working intensively to harmonize requirements for the different types of charging plug and charging modes according to the standards EN 62196-2:2012 and EN 61851-1. Important points of discussion were the mechanical shutter used in some countries (including Italy) in combination with the socket outlet for charging, and the specific requirements regarding the charging infrastructure for lightweight vehicles. For charging these lightweight vehicles, which include scooters – very popular in Italy – and three- or four-wheeled vehicles, a Type 3a socket outlet for use with or without a shutter is also being proposed.
The European Standards EN 62196-1:2012 and EN 62196-2:2012 published last year by CENELEC already describe plugs, socket-outlets, vehicle connectors, and vehicle inlets for electric vehicles, but do not lay out a single standardized charging solution for the whole of Europe. Other European countries which are currently accustomed to employing a shutter have the option of using the new solution to comply with the Commission’s requirement that there should be a single Europe-wide charging infrastructure on the basis of the Type 2 plug.
The German-Italian proposal should be implemented soon, paving the way towards establishing a common solution for all CEN/CENELEC countries.
The Type 2 plug was introduced into the international standardization process as early as 2009. It supports both single- and three-phase charging and enables higher-powered charging and shorter charging times than the couplers used in Japan and the United States, which only support single-phase charging. The availability of a single safe and efficient charging infrastructure enabling electric cars to be charged whatever their make and no matter where they are located is vital for the breakthrough of electromobility in Europe and the world in general.
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