CHANGE NEEDED: Volvo says a simple, standardised, fast and global charging infrastructure is needed for electric cars. Image: AFP / Geoff Robins
Stockholm, Sweden - In a bid to grow its market for zero-emission vehicles, Swedish automaker Volvo has joined a German initiative to standardise plugs for electric cars, the company said Wednesday (March 9).
Peter Mertens, Volvo vice president for research, said in a statement: "To cement the increasing popularity of electric vehicles and ensure that customers fully embrace the technology... a simple, standardised, fast and global charging infrastructure is needed."
Surge in EV popularity
Since 2009, automakers like Volvo have introduced about 30 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle models throughout the United States, China, Japan and Europe.
The surge in popularity of electric and hybrid cars, which can use either petrol or electricity, has largely been due to increasing oil prices and environmental concerns.
One in five of all Volvo XC90s sold is a plug-in hybrid, according to the manufacturer, and in January, the XC90 was named North American car of the year. It has also been crowned the South African Car of the Year this week.
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Mertens said: "We see that a shift towards fully electric cars is already underway."
But the battery life of electric or hybrid vehicles has been a problem, as has the development of uniform standards for charging stations.
The Berlin-based Charging Interface Initiative, which Volvo joined, and which includes a number of German automakers and associations, has been developing a certification scheme for use by automakers around the globe.
"To really make range (mileage) 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," said Mertens.
The Charging Interface Initiative was founded by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Mennekes, Opel, Phoenix Contact, Porsche, TUV SUD and Volkswagen.