Sweden’s Volvo calls for joint effort to boost green tech

In a bid to grow its market for zero-emission vehicles, Swedish carmaker Volvo has joined a German initiative to standardize plugs for electric cars, the company said on Wednesday.

Sweden's Volvo calls for joint effort to boost green tech
Electric cars. Photo: Lise Åserud/NTB scanpix/TT

“To cement the increasing popularity of electric vehicles and ensure that customers fully embrace the technology… a simple, standardized, fast and global charging infrastructure is needed,” Peter Mertens, Volvo vice president for research, said in a statement.

Since 2009, automakers like Volvo have introduced about 30 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle models throughout the United States, China, Japan and Europe.

The surge in popularity of electric and hybrid cars, which can use either petrol or electricity; has largely been due to increasing oil prices and environmental concerns.

One in five of all Volvo XC90s sold is a plug-in hybrid, according to the manufacturer, and in January, the XC90 was named North American car of the year.

“We see that a shift towards fully electric cars is already under way,” said Mertens.

But the battery life of electric of hybrid vehicles has been a problem, as has the development of uniform standards for charging stations.

The Berlin-based Charging Interface Initiative, which Volvo joined, and which includes a number of German firms and associations, has been developing a certification scheme for use by automakers around the globe.

“To really make range (mileage) anxiety a thing of the past, a globally standardized charging system is sorely needed. The lack of such a standard is one of the main obstacles for growing electric vehicles' share of the market,” said Mertens.

The Charging Interface Initiative was founded by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Mennekes, Opel, Phoenix Contact, Porsche, TUV SUD and Volkswagen. Volvo Cars is owned by the Chinese Geely group.