Auto executives who gathered at the recent Geneva Auto Show said they will need broad, political support to establish a common standard for plugs and infrastructure for electric cars if they are to become a convenient option for consumers.
They added that a lack of standardization may become a problem once the zero-emission cars start to sell in larger numbers by mid-decade - as they compete with low-emission hybrids.
Michel Gardel, vice president at Toyota Motor Corp.’s European operations, said that standardization and harmonization is a critical issue in Europe. He cited that traveling from Denmark to Italy will require the driver to change the plug four times.
Establishing a common industrial policy for anything is difficult in Europe, where governments prioritize domestic interests, sometimes at the expense of convenience for consumers and regional harmony. That could pose a problem for EVs when they become capable of travelling longer distances and cross-border travel.
At a World Economic session in Davos earlier in 2011, CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, Carlos Ghosn, said that what they are trying to do as an (automobile) industry is “tough” because of the numerous competitive issues. [via reuters]