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Electric-Car Drivers Face Compatibility Hurdles

As car makers develop more electric vehicles, many of them are getting together to develop an infrastructure of fast-charging stations where drivers can recharge their cars’ batteries in the time it takes to eat lunch or enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee.

For now, though, drivers who want to quickly top off with “juice” will not only have to find a charging station. They will have to find the right kind of station. Yes, the “electric gas station” has a compatibility problem.

General Motors Co. and BMW AG recently completed testing of their jointly developed “Combo” Fast Charge stations and the companies said they will be able to give electric vehicles an 80% charge in about 20 minutes. The companies’ all-in-one charge receptacle lets drivers attach either a regular at-home style charging plug or a public fast-charge plug at the same spot on the car. It also allows drivers of BMW or GM electric cars to use the same station.

But you’ll be out of luck if you are driving a Nissan Leaf. Nissan, Mitsubishi electric cars use a fast-charging method known as “CHAdeMO” among industry insiders. The name is an abbreviation of “CHArge de MOve”, or “charge for moving.”


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