Cities Build Charging Stations, but Plugs Won't Fit

There's no universal standard for fast-charging technology
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2011 4:09 PM CST
Cities Build Charging Stations, but Plugs Won't Fit
A man inspects a Nissan Motor Co.'s electric vehicle Leaf in front of a battery charging station at the Japanese automaker's plant near Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

The good news is that Chicago plans to have more than 70 public stations in place by the end of the year where people can pull in and quickly charge their electric cars. The bad news is that fast-changing standards means the stations will be useless for some models unless they're retrofitted, reports the Chicago Tribune. The problem illustrates the logistical hurdles cities face as they try to embrace the greener technology.

"Whenever you get cutting-edge technology, you get new standards, like with Betamax and VHS," says an analyst at a global management consulting firm. "It's very expensive to build out these things and then over time have to swap them out as new standards are developed." The problem affects only fast-charging stations, which allow motorists to juice up in about 30 minutes. With no international standards in place, countries are developing different plugs with differing numbers of pins and hoping theirs becomes the standard. (More Chicago stories.)

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