Volvo calls for unified EV charging standard

March 09, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Volvo electric
Widespread acceptance of electric mobility, though desirable under ecologic aspects, is still experiencing several roadblocks. Perhaps the least reasonable one is the persistent lack of a standardised charging system. Now Volvo raised its voice to end the awkward situation.

The global automotive industry should strive towards the introduction of a standardised charging infrastructure for electric cars, said Dr Peter Mertens, the company’s Senior Vice President for Research & Development.


To support this drive towards a global standard for electric car charging, Volvo Cars has decided to throw its weight behind the Charging Interface Initiative , a consortium of stakeholders that was founded to establish their Combined Charging System (CCS) as the standard for charging battery-powered vehicles.


Being a major player in the segment of plug-in hybrid vehicles, Volvo will offer a plug-in hybrid variant on every new model as it replaces its entire product portfolio in the coming years. It will introduce a fully electric vehicle by 2019, based on its modular SPA vehicle architecture.


In order to cement the increasing popularity of electric vehicles and ensure that customers fully embrace the technology, Mertens argued that a simple, standardised, fast and global charging infrastructure is needed. “We see that a shift towards fully electric cars is already underway, as battery technology improves, costs fall and charging infrastructure is put in place,” said Mertens. “But while we are ready from a technology perspective, the charging infrastructure is not quite there yet. To really make range anxiety a thing of the past, a globally standardised charging system is sorely needed. The lack of such a standard is one of the main obstacles for growing electric vehicles’ share of the market,”


The Combined Charging System, which will offer both regular and fast charging capabilities, makes electric car ownership increasingly practical and convenient – especially in urban environments which are ideal for electric vehicles.


It combines single-phase with rapid three-phase charging, using AC at a maximum of 43 kilowatts (kW), as well as DC charging at up to 200 kW and in the future possibly up to 350 kW in a single system.


The Charging Interface Initiative