“A globally standardised charging system is sorely needed, because while we are ready from a technology perspective, the charging infrastructure is simply not there yet.”
Those were the words of Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for R&D of Volvo Cars. To put things into context, Volvo is one of the leading carmakers whose belief in electrification yields tangible results – one of every five Volvo XC90 is of the T8 plug-in hybrid variant. In fact, the numbers and prospects are so promising that Volvo has decided to offer a plug-in hybrid variant for every new model they introduce or replace in the coming years. Yes, every single model, including an all-electric model (based on their modular SPA architecture) by 2019.
As of today, there isn’t such a thing as a ‘global standard’ for car charging, which is why the Swedish car manufacturer started a Charging Interface Initiative (CII) – a consortium of stakeholders founded to establish and set standards for car charging, known as the Combined Charging System (CCS). Dr Mertens said the only way to cement the increasing popularity of electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids is to make available a simple, standardised global charging infrastructure.
Range anxiety is a real thing, especially for urbanites driving full electric or plug-in hybrid cars. Through CII, Volvo believes that owning and driving electric cars will be a much more convenient and practical experience.
The consortium is currently in the process of drawing up requirements for the evolution of charging-related standards and certification for use by car makers around the world. This means now matter what brand of electric car you drive next time, all charging outlets will be compatible. After all, how can electrification thrive when there isn’t a standard infrastructure to facilitate its growth?