Charger Standards Converge

Toyota Joins the Inductive Charger Camp

In a June press conference, GM and Toyota announced that they had come to agreement on a standardized inductive charging system. Previously, Nissan had committed to using the GM inductive system.

The agreement, however, came at the cost of switching over to a new inductive paddle with a smaller form factor to accommodate anticipated smaller cars for the foreign markets. Backward compatibility was not neglected, however. Existing GM EV1, Chevy S10, and Nissan cars will be accommodated with a slip-on adapter for the charger paddle.

Closeup comparing the current inductive charging paddle (top) and the new standard paddle. Photo provided by Kris Trexler.

Recent press conference announcing the GM-Toyota agreement to standardize inductive charging. The U-shaped adapter visible on the table allows current EV1's to use chargers with the new paddle. Photo provided by John Cox.

Why Standardize?

Charger List
For EV1 drivers, the proliferation of inductive chargers in the EV1 market areas (Arizona and California) makes it easy to forget that one of the roadblocks to widespread acceptance of electric vehicles is the lack of standardization of charging methods. The most obvious signs of this to drivers are the different types of vehicle connections and the resulting variety of charging stations which need to be installed.

At the most basic level, EV manufacturers split between the conductive connection (i.e. direct electrical connection) and the inductive connection (magnetic field connection). Both methods have their proponents and the most that should be said here is that if the answer to the question of which system is best were completely obvious, there would be no arguments!

Citicar inductive charger paddle. Photo provided by Tom Dowling.
Most drivers have probably heard that for conductive connections, there are numerous varieties of 240V connectors. But do you know that there are at least two inductive systems already installed? Take a close look at the photo at right. That's NOT an EV1 paddle! It's a Citicar inductive paddle.

Check out the photos below from the Walnut Creek BART station to see what the whole confused charger mess looks like all in one place!

BART station covers all of the bases!

At left, Sacramento EV1 driver Tom Dowling checks out the charger situation at the Walnut Creek BART station.

Photos provided by Tom Dowling.

On the left, the large cement pedestal houses a Hubbell 240 Twistlock conductive connector. In the middle, Tom checks out the EV1 charger look-alike which is actually an inductive charger for the Citicar. At the right is a conductive station for the Honda/Ford vehicles.

Not shown - a conductive connection station with a standard 120V socket as well as NEMA 14-50 (240V) sockets!

  Also at the Walnut Creek BART station is a familiar sight for EV1 drivers -- the Magnecharge inductive charger (GM/Nissan compatible).

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