, invented by German company Mennekes. The European Commission just gave it its official backing." />

European Commission Backs Mennekes Type 2 Electric Car Plug

By · January 30, 2013

The type-2 connector, officially endorsed as the European EV plug

The "type 2" connector, officially endorsed as the European EV plug.

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?

The type-2 connector, officially endorsed as the European EV plug

The "type 2" connector, officially endorsed as the European EV plug.

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?

The type-2 connector in use with a Smart Electric Drive, in Europe

The "type 2" connector in use with a Smart Electric Drive, in Europe

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.

It's different at the European level because the Commission has the power to make legally binding objectives. If a country fails to meet them, this country will get a fine (though the people responsible for the failure will not pay it with their own money). But nobody should be afraid of that, because the people in Brussels are quite reasonable and their objectives are much more modest than what several governments have already planned. And that's the idea, the regulator sets a minimum with the hope that most countries will largely exceed it.

The European Commission says that by 2020, France should get 97,000 public charging stations. Germany should get 150,000; Italy needs 125,000; the U.K. target is 122,000, etc. There's a target for each member of the European Union, and it should be nice, but it's hard to understand how they were calculated. Why should Italy, a country smaller and with less people than France, have more chargers?

Actually, instead of quantitative targets, I think it would be better to have qualitative ones—for example, that EV drivers should never be more than about 15 miles from a fast-charging station. Or that there should be a fast charger for every 5,000 people. Wouldn't that be better? There's still time for changes like this because this plan is still at the proposal stage. It will be a while before it actually becomes law, and this is time for debate.

Whatever is finalized as a plan by the European Commission, it will likely be a source of conflict with the British government, which said only a few days earlier that its action wasn't needed to help EVs.

We should also note what the Commission doesn't say: there's nothing about battery swapping. Israeli company Better Place once had a plan to install battery-swap stations all over Europe, and there were some people in Brussels who were supportive of the idea, but that's no more. People now realize that the economics were wrong, and chassis engineers went further, explaining that designing EVs with an easy to remove battery will make the cars heavier.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

Hi Laurent, one EU country is already fully covered with level 3 chargers. Estonia has one level 3 charger per 8000 inhabitants. Total of 164 chargers, maximum of 50 km from any point to closest charger.

· · 1 year ago

Laurent, thank you very much for this informative article.

There has been much misinformation over here in the states regarding such a plug, but your pictures have cleared it up. Many over here have been saying that the SAE Combo is the new standard, but my gut reaction was it just couldn't be so, seeing as almost everything over in your neck of the woods is 400 volts.

Briitain can complain all they want, but seeing as their Parliament is 92% ceremonial these days, they will have no effect, since that percentage of laws is from Brussels Dictates. Britains should be upset over that, and over much more than (in the total scheme of things trivial standards of) European Plugs.

I assume that SmartEv has the 22kw 3000 euro option that you've mentioned previously.

So, simply because Europe prefers 3 phase to our North American single phase, cars on either side of the "pond" will now be officially incompatible.

· · 1 year ago

Laurent you have a ten year old converted Peugeot? What kind of plug did you put on it? Or did you just put a standard "table lamp" style 6 amp French plug on it? (240 volts single phase).

· · 1 year ago

Now hold your horses everyone.

First: This is just a proposition from the EU commission and it will be debated a lot. Most of the pure EVs driving in Europe today have Type 1 (J1772) and a CHAdeMO, just as in the US.
Second: It's not mentioned where the Type 2 is suppose to be located! On the charging post or on the car? Most charging stations 99%, at least in Scandinavia, do not have a fixed connection.
Third: The Type 2 cable, is as far as I know, compatible with the Combo inlet. ie, you can always connect a Type 2 cable to a Combo compatable EV.
Forth: The proposition from the commission is full of blanks and shows some serious signes of poor understanding when it comes to EVs, who wrote this anyway?
Fifth: I love the commissions approach, there need to be a strong political focus, however, they should never ever interfear with technology standards, it would be a wonderful way of killing the EV again.

Please contact me if you have any further questions.

· · 1 year ago

@Andy

You can't be saying that this 'type 2' Mennekes Plug is the same as an SAE Combo J1772. The pins are totally different and in different places and the 'type 2' is 3 phase and 400 volts versus the 120 / 240 j1772 single-phase.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill

You misunderstood me and the information is a bit confusing. But as far as I know, the combo plug in us will not be the same as in europe. In us compateble with j1772 and in europe with type 2. I guess the correct name is Combo2. If you google you can see 2different types of the combo plug.

Type 2 can be either 1 or 3 phase 230-400 volts. Volvo v60 phev has type 2 but only use 230 v 1 phase.

· · 1 year ago

The "Combined Charging System" CCS is both the Combo1 and Combo2/Type2. The best two page summary of it I found using this google search (cut-n-paste below):
"combo 2" european charging
and see this link:
Combined Charging – the universal charging system Design ...

· · 1 year ago

@Scott and Andy

Searched all the available info, found 6 ( S I X !!!!!!! ) different combo connectors, and that doesn't even include Tesla's go it alone approach. What a cluster.........

If you haven't gleaned this yet, I'm big on standardization of parts (sorry , we spell that with a z, its wrong, but then I didn't vote for Daniel Webster).

I wouldn't purchase any of Tesla's Roadster "solutions", until they came out with a j1772 adapter. I also didn't want the UMC on the 'S', since the j1772 adapter is all I'd need.

But the world is going the other way... No wonder the gasoline driving public has more reasons to stay away. At least they are keeping the 110 volt stuff the same (they have to because so much on North America runs on it -- if there wasn't they'd no doubt be changing that also!!!).

· · 1 year ago

@Bill

"Standardization" is good, but I would rather let the market agree, than the politicians.

I'm a firm believer that it's ok to have several different standards when it comes to EV charging. In a normal gasstation we have normal Gas, Diesel, Biofuel and Ethanol (anyway in Scandinavia) So why should it be so difficult to have different charging standards? In fact, most problems will actually be solved with adapters as long as it goes well with AC or DC. It is not a rocket science question for Elon :).

Talking about Tesla. I'm really curious to find out how their and CHAdeMO to Model S adapter will look like if that rumour is true.

(Apologize for my poor "Swenglish")

· · 1 year ago

The market wants the Type 2 plug! I'll bring new arguments soon.

· · 1 year ago

@Andy

Your Swenglish is better than my Swedish.

The 3 phase issue of the Mennekes connector is rather what kills things here in North America. While there are 3 phase versions of American Style EVSE's across the Atlantic, to my knowledge *NONE* of them exist here either as Private or Public charging. Over here, it is extremely rare (.00001%) to have a house with 3 phase, even 12,000 square foot mansions don't have them as a rule.

Now its true that you can make anything out of anything rather inexpensively these days, but its an added cost that the "market" has not seen fit to address yet over here. My point is that sans a converter box which doesn't yet exist (or, something one currently would have to home make), none of these cars would be useable in North America.

So, here's a question for you guys, especially Laurent:

On one of these vehicles that would typically charge 3 phase at 400 volts, is there a "Limp Along Mode" where, in an emergency, the car COULD be able to charge at 230 volts single phase?

So, suppose the 'standard' is 63 amperes 3 phase 400 volts.... Can the same car charge at 16 amperes 230 single phase? The reason I ask is because if it could, then the car would be usable in the states.

(These currents / voltages I'm assuming are standard in Europe, they are non-standard here)

· · 1 year ago

@Bill

The answer is yes. There are already type 2 to type 1 cables out there to buy. Its still AC not DC.

You can charge a renault zoe with with anything between 1,2-22kW.

The difference between eu charging station and us is that in us the charger has a fixed connection, ie you rarely use the emergency charging cable that comes with the car. In Sweden, as an example, most harging stations has a so called shucko outlet, ie using the evse the comes with the car. Confusing? Yes.

· · 1 year ago

@Andy

For moderate charging rates all we have is a J1772, or now the new combo plug which is a j1772 and 2 dc wires.. So If I had a European car, with that type 2 jack mounted on the car, I don't see how i would plug it into the american chargerdock without an adapter cable.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill

You are absolutely right, there need to be an adapter. But it shouldnt be an obstacle, similar adapters already exist.

· · 1 year ago

@Andy

Thanks for the explanation. The most basic question one would have is, "Can I use this car where I happen to live?".

· · 1 year ago

@Andy.

Now that you've assured me of Hardware Compatibility, do you know if the Mennekes protocol (signalling Cadence) is identical to SAE J1772?

· · 1 year ago

@Andy

Ill answer my own question unless you know differently. Supposedly, the IEC 62196-1, specification is supposedly compatible with our J1772, providing the current/voltage is 16 amps 230 volts (I'll assume also the car won't get nervous regarding 2 missing phases).

Considering the fact that, to pick a vehicle at random, the Toyota Rav4EV is fully J1772 compatible but doesn't work with several 'fully compatible' J1772 chargerdocks, it would be interesting to TEST this on an actual european Mennekes car to see whether besides hardware compatibility with an adapter, the protocol/signalling cadence ACTUALLY works in practice besides in theory.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill

As far as I know the type 2 should be compateble with the type 1 j1772 in all directions and with all protocols as far as the car is able to communicate in mode 3.

Thats in theory as you say, in practice I couldnt say 100% for sure.

I dont get why the compatebility issue happens with the rav4 ev, it really shouldnt happen if everybody would follow the standards.

· · 1 year ago

@Andy Rietschel

Well, some background information. My Tesla Roadster has a design defect in it (which Tesla does no deny, their warranty specifically does *NOT* warrant against design defects and they make no claim they make a perfect car) that causes slight incompatibility with the official J1772. Many chargerdocks will not work with it.

Interestingly, years later the Toyota Rav4EV chose Tesla to provide the motor , inverter and battery. Its not so surprising to me that it is incompatible with many charger docs, but you would have thought they would have corrected their nagging problems from years before.

The other problem is the J1772 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is the most poorly written standard I've seen in my lifetime. The fact that there are so many compatibility issues with it is not surprising.

· · 1 year ago

@Bill,

Tesla goes Apple... great products don't care about standardisation :). Still, I would never switch to Apple computers and phones but is in line for a Tesla. Good? Bad? Right? Wrong? Oppinions are for the crowd to handle, the power of the crowds.

To get back to the initial subject, I would really like to have more information about the EU commissions plan, it is a bit wierdly written.

· · 1 year ago

It is not a "Mennekes" plug, they are just one vendor. Here is the brochure from another vendor:

www.phoenixcontact.nl/local_content_pdf/pdf_nld/52006703_en_03.pdf

The connector is an IEC 62196-2 for AC and -3 for DC. They also embrace the SAE J1772 under the same document. The Chinese version is in there also, the Phoenix document above shows them all.

The important point is the control protocols are the same between the US and Europe, even if the voltage limits vary.

But no one seems to understand that the small J1772 plug which the Leaf and Volt use today can also be used for DC level 1 (somewhere around 30 kw depending on battery voltage) with the simple addition of a temperature sensor and automated lock. This is comparable to Chademo power levels in a smaller connector.

The bigger J1772 combo connector is only needed for the 100 kw levels that the Tesla Model S and some commercial vehicles can use. The Euro version simply allows three phase AC which is very smart for that market. I expect it might be used in the US for applications in industrial areas.

When the vehicle carries a cord with connectors on both ends, it really does not matter since the protocols are the same regardless.

· · 1 year ago

I think the battery-swap idea has a great deal of promise in theory, but it depends on standardization of battery characteristics, and, probably, location, a standardization that is probably too late at this point to impose.

I would suggest they pursue it most heavily in island markets, such as Ireland, Sicily, Crete, Iceland, etc. where true long-distance driving will not be happening. Israel might as well be an island so it's an ideal place for them to start.

· · 1 year ago

Whoops, posted comment on wrong page. :/

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