DETROIT May 2 Seven automakers, including
General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co, have agreed to
adopt a fast-charging system that can charge electric vehicles
and plug-in hybrids in as little as 15 minutes.
The group's goal is to make charging an electrified car as
simple as filling a gas tank. Chrysler Group LLC is the
latest automaker to join the consortium, which also includes
members from Volkswagen AG and its luxury Audi
brand, Daimler AG, Porsche and BMW.
The ability to quickly charge cars like GM's Chevrolet Volt
and Ford's Focus Electric is crucial to making them more popular
among consumers, said Mike Tinskey, associate director of
vehicle electrification for Ford, the No. 2 U.S. automaker.
The charging method championed by Ford and others in the
group will be showcased at a electric vehicle conference in Los
Angeles next week, the automakers said in a press release.
But the approach supported by Ford and others is not
compatible with the technology already used by Japanese
automakers. Nissan Motor Co's Leaf electric car uses
the "CHAdeMO" system to quickly charge, for example.
The lack of consensus has slowed the construction of fast
charging stations in the U.S. market and illustrates some of the
struggles facing the burgeoning electric car industry.
Ford believes its system will be used in its vehicles beyond
2020, Tinskey said. ACEA, a trade group of European automakers,
will use the charging system for all new vehicle types in Europe
beginning in 2017, the press release said.
"We think this is a very long-term solution," Tinskey said.
Charging stations equipped with fast charging capability are
projected to be available later this year. These stations can
cost anywhere from $25,000 to $90,000 depending on how much
power is available in a particular area, Tinskey said.