'Irrelevant' charger design was to be used for all EV fast chargers across the EU, but the UK will now be free to adopt a more market-friendly design

An EU directive that will standardise rapid-charging EV points in favour of a design that is not common in the UK is set to be an early casualty of the Brexit vote.

Due to be written into UK law this October, the directive has attracted criticism from both the EV industry and UK government and is likely to be quietly shelved as unnecessary.

"This is a piece of bureaucracy that this industry, which is still in its infancy, doesn’t need," said David Martell, boss of Chargemaster, which makes and supplies EV chargers from its Luton-based and factory. "It doesn’t make any point and we want to see it dropped." 

The new EU law, which is known as the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure directive, has been in discussion since at least 2014 and was intended to force member states to establish an EU-wide EV charging network, along with facilities for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) depots.

But with no funding to back it, the directive attracted little support from member states, Autocar has been told.

The directive makes the Combined Charging System (CCS) plug – a design adopted largely by German car makers – a legal requirement for any publicly available rapid charger.

However, the UK has a large fleet of Nissan Leaf and Renault EVs, which each use different rapid-charging plugs, so the directive is seen as irrelevant to the UK's EV market. Nissan uses the Japanese Chademo standard for DC fast-charging.

"People could have ended up in prison just for not having the right plug on a public charger," added Martell.

"There’s no legislation that says an iPhone or whatever should have a certain type of plug, so why is that necessary for an EV? It doesn’t make sense."

Our Verdict

Renault Zoe

Bespoke battery-powered supermini aims to advance the cause of electric cars at the mainstream end of the market

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Chargemaster is poised to announce an expansion of the number of 50kW rapid chargers it has available in its 4000-strong Polar network and hopes a partnership announced with the AA last week will boost numbers even more.

Last week the AA and Chargemaster announced a tie-up that will reduce the cost of a home charger to £300 (after a government subsidy) and give members discounted access to the Polar network.

The next step is to install chargers at the AA-accredited hotel network, once there have been negotiations with hoteliers.

Join the debate


6 July 2016
Dunno what the fuss is all about, sounds like a good idea to me, will make it easier for everyone to have a standard charger, all phone manufacturers came together to produce a standard charger years ago for the same reasons . . all apart from Apple that is.

XXXX just went POP.

6 July 2016
So...what about the consumer? This willy-waving about choosing our own path is all fine and dandy, but if I take a Tesla to the continent, how the feck do i charge it? Do I need to buy a separate cable / adaptor?

6 July 2016
How long will Autocar be pushing anti leave stories fed to it by the SMMT?

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

6 July 2016
xxxx wrote:

How long will Autocar be pushing anti leave stories fed to it by the SMMT?

Anti leave? I read it as EU bureaucracy - a reason why we should leave.

6 July 2016
The great thing about them is, there's so many different ones to choose from

6 July 2016
with the EU's intention to do away with the chargers that can only be used on certain types of mobile / smart phones, with dozens of unused chargers clogging up desk drawers in each household as a result. Standardizing EV chargers would speed up EV acceptance, contribute to better utilization of the electric grid. Not to work on standardizing is stupid.

6 July 2016
Ok, having read around the subject a bit, Europe standardizing around CCS seems like a no brainer.

I really hope this isn't a sign of things to come - politicians rejecting anything sensible emanating for Europe in order or burnish their Brexit credentials.

6 July 2016
The cost of adding a second cable for many of the charging stations is a fraction of the overall cost. I think ABB quote that it will add less than 10% additional onto the overall cost. At the same time about 50% of the non-Tesla European sales of BEV and PHEVs are using CCS. As well as all the German manufacturers the likes of Opel / Vauxhall and Ford are going CCS. With the growth of the market looking at installed base isn't a smart thing to do - you need to also look at new sales. 9 out of the top 10 PHEVs are from firms using CCS.

6 July 2016
So Nissan and Renault share many,many parts including engines but yet they have conspired to use separate charging plugs?
Manufacturers eh? Never miss a chance to sell you more.

If I want an autonomous car, I'll take a taxi.

6 July 2016
Standardizing plug design is not such a bad idea. Imagine each country/manufacturer having their own standards. It's as if each country and manufacturer would have their own type of gas/diesel fuel. It would help to push EV sales a lot. If there is no money backing it means our governments don't think it's important.



Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week