The IEC forum meets in Israel to standardize electric car charging stations so electric car owners can fuel up and road trip around the world.
So you bought a new electric car and think you can go on a road trip with it from the UK to Spain, then over to France, Eastern Europe and Turkey? Well, think again because it won’t be even as easy a trying to drive a right-hand drive car from the UK in Europe or America.
In fact, it could be downright difficult as not only the electric current may be different, the “codes” for recharging a car battery and the charging infrastructures may vary from country to country – even those who all claim to have a “standardized” 220 Volt 50 cycle electric current network.
This concern has resulted in more than 1,200 private and public officials going to Tel Aviv, Israel to attend the 73 annual conference of the International Electro-technical Commission, otherwise known as the IEC.
The officials, representing 70 countries, are meeting to try to standardize, as much as possible, the electric car recharging centers for these vehicles, as well as the electric current and voltage cycles that will be used in these centers.
The fact that Israel was chosen as the host country for this conference is a big boost for this country’s efforts in developing these kinds of vehicles; especially for the company Better Place, which is not only working on the development of electric cars themselves, but on the recharging stations that will be used to “fill up” or replace the car’s batteries or energy cells once they are depleted.
Take European Union countries for example. Although they all claim to be conforming to the Schengen Agreement ; in many of these countries, the electric outlets and plugs may vary slightly, creating a possible problem should a person need to recharge his electric car from home instead of at an authorized charging station.
A few European countries, including Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland are associate members; which means not everything involved in the Schengen Agreement may be standardized, including possibly electrical items as well. This also applies to the U.K and Ireland, which have different electrical plugs and grounding requirements.
Better Place, headed by Shai Agassi, has become a world leader in electric car innovation, and has entered into agreements with both the French automaker Renault and Japanese Nissan companies to design a viable electric car.
Better Place claims that Israel will have electric car recharging centers in place in 2011 (some pilot sites already are), which will include charging posts at public places such as train station parking lots. The company is also working on making the electric plugs and sockets for the cars more standardized, instead of often requiring adaptors, as is the case today.
Just a few years ago electric cars were no more than curiosity items. But with so much emphasis being placed on renewable energy and global warming, more and more electric car models are appearing at international auto shows, such as the auto show in Frankfurt Germany which included a specially designed Porsche electric sports model.
The electric car concept has definitely come of age. And Israeli ingenuity, as personified by companies like Better Place, has a leading edge in developing the cars and car “filling stations” of the future.
Photo via CNet.