Automakers will combine on electric vehicle charging system


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Seven automakers are collaborating on creating a single international standard for an electric vehicle fast charging system to slash the time drivers need to put more juice in their electric cars.

The system will use a common vehicle inlet/charging connector and will have a standard electronic method for the vehicle to communicate with the charging station. This will allow electric vehicles from Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen to share the same fast charging stations.


The seven auto manufacturers said “the development of a common charging approach is good for customers, the industry and charging infrastructure providers. Standardization will reduce build complexity for manufacturers, accelerate the installation of common systems internationally and most importantly, improve the ownership experience for EV drivers.”

Meanwhile, Nissan said it would slash the price of the home charging system for its Leaf electric vehicle to reduce the ownership cost of the sedan. Nissan will charge $1,818 for both hardware and installation services. While some regions have incentives that reduce the cost, many homeowners discovered they would have to pay $2,000 to $3,000 to purchase and install the system.

And GM said its Chevrolet division will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark mini-car -– the Spark EV. It will be sold in limited quantities in select U.S. and global markets starting in 2013, including California.

“The Spark EV offers customers living in urban areas who have predictable driving patterns or short commutes an all-electric option,” said Jim Federico, global vehicle chief engineer for electric vehicles at Chevrolet.

GM did not release more details about the car, but Federico’s comments indicated that it will have a limited range, probably to keep the cost low by not including a large battery.

Chevrolet plans to introduce the gasoline version of the Spark at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November.


It will be tiny, about 14 inches shorter than Chevrolet’s smallest car, the recently launched Sonic, and about 4 inches longer than what’s sure to be a rival vehicle, the Fiat 500.

The gasoline Spark will be powered by a 1.2 liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 83 horsepower and will come with a five-speed manual transmission. An automatic transmission will be available. No price information has been released.


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-- Jerry Hirsch