Eight of the world's largest and most influential global manufacturers have agreed on a standard design for the charging systems of their electric vehicles.
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Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen have endorsed a harmonised single-port fast charging method – called DC-fast charging with a combined charging system – for use in their EVs in Europe and the US.

The combined charging system integrates the four key charging methods into one connection: one-phase AC charging, fast three-phase AC charging, home DC charging, and ultra-fast DC charging from public stations.

The ultra-fast DC method will be capable of recharging most compatible EVs within 15-20 minutes.

The chargers will be available commercially from the end of 2012 and vehicles equipped with compatible ports will be launched from 2013.

The European Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (ACEA) – which includes the above car makers as well as Fiat, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Renault, Toyota and Volvo – has also selected the combined charging system as its approved interface for all new vehicles in Europe from 2017.

The system has been designed to work in all international vehicle markets, creating standard charge controllers, package dimensions and safety mechanisms.

The landmark agreement should see the system become the uniform standard for manufacturers of EVs around the world, which in turn will reduce development and infrastructure complexity, improve charging reliability, reduce maintenance costs and reduce the total cost of ownership for end customers.