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PHOTO CAPTION: Mennekes Type 2 Connector will now be standard in Europe

European Commission Adopts Mennekes Type 2 Connector

With European Commission proposing to mandate tens of thousands of public chargers across Europe, move to adopt the German design seen adding impetus to initiative to put more EVs on Europe's roads.

Published: 03-Feb-2013

The European Commission last week unveiled a plan for cleaner fuels while reducing the continent's dependency on imported oil. The plan states that, by 2020, the leading alternative fuel in Europe shall be (drum roll): natural gas. There's about one million vehicles running on natural gas today in Europe, and this should increase ten-fold by 2020. But the electric car is right behind, and there should soon be millions of EVs everywhere in Europe.

The Commission's plan addresses a central problem regarding EV charging stations: lack of interoperability. Everyone understands that to make EVs widespread, Europe needs a single plug. The question is who should choose this plug, the market or a regulator?

Actually, the market has already chosen. In Germany, Italy or in the U.K. the most widely used plug by far is the one known as "Type 2", invented by German company Mennekes. The European Commission just gave it its official backing.

It's a great relief as there were still some doubters, but now, we know. All EVs sold in Europe should have this plug, and we can move forward. It's true that all European car manufacturers which previously endorsed this Type 2 plug have now stated plans to use the new Combo SAE plug, but that new standard just doesn't exist at this stage in Europe. The Commission moves on, and now tries to answer a much more difficult question: how many charging stations a country should have?

Most European countries have already thought about it, but that doesn't mean much. France has set an ambitious plan for hundreds of thousands of charging stations by 2020, but France has always been better at setting targets than achieving them. The government says every year that it will reduce the deficit and the country's debt, but it fails every year.

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