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Universal plug for electric cars

A transatlantic initiative hopes to encourage more people to buy electric cars by developing a universal plug that would drive down the cost and make charging as easy as filling up at a gas station. Electric cars could alleviate pollution in Europe’s congested cities if only people started buying and driving them in significant numbers. However, a big problem for consumers and manufacturers is that standards for plugs, cables, and electrical communications are different across the world. Earlier this year, the EU agreed on a common plug for charging electric vehicles, but only after months of negotiations between Germany, France and Italy over different designs. Carmakers across the world still have differing standards for quick charging, causing confusion for electric car owners who would need to scout around for a compatible charging station. Research services in Europe and the US have teamed up to set up so-called interoperability centres, which make sure that different systems can work together so any electric car can be plugged in at any charging station. READ MORE

Issue 27