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March 5, 2010

SWITZERLAND: Opel/Vauxhall EV chief calls for standardised charging

Opel/Vauxhall says more needs to be done to ensure Europe-wide standardisation of electric vehicle charging.

Opel/Vauxhall says more needs to be done to ensure Europe-wide standardisation of electric vehicle charging.

The General Motors European unit’s group product manager for electric vehicles, Andreas Lassota, has called for a common European approach.

“We are in an industry where we need a good political environment,” he told just-auto. “I think the necessity for electric propulsion systems is high – we need maybe charge plugs in every garage and if somebody decides to build a new house, please build in a socket to charge the car.

“What I am a bit sad about is that it is not equal in all countries of Europe, which makes it difficult for us. Even billing systems are different in London and Berlin for example. We have to find standards and we have to find that cross-border approach. Europe-wide will take some time and that is not an easy thing.”

Lassota highlighted the debate surrounding whether or not electric vehicles should be equipped with artificial noise to alert pedestrians.

He noted that, even for conventionally-powered cars, pedestrians had to determine the direction the sound was coming from.

A system is nonetheless being developed to alert blind and partially-sighted people to an oncoming electric vehicle. And he conceded legislation may well force automakers to deal with the noise issue (or lack thereof) at some point.

The Ampera – Opel/Vauxhall’s version of the Chevy Volt runs primarily on electricity and a petrol engine generator recharges the battery on the move when depleted. Production begins in Europe next year though GM has yet to announce where.

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